Grateful Dead

November 30 - December 6, 2009

Tapers Section By David Lemieux

Greetings, and welcome back to the Tapers' Section, where this week we'll hear music from 1973, 1979 and 1981 as we head into December and what we expect will be a good holiday season of music.

Our first selection this week is from 12/1/73, the middle night of three shows at the Boston Music Hall. You might be familiar with the first and third nights through Dick's Picks Vol. 14, but the middle night also had some good material, including this sequence of Around and Around, They Love Each Other, Me and My Uncle, Don't Ease, Me and Bobby McGee, a nice batch of first set songs. As you'll hear throughout this sequence, they were having crowd control problems, but evidently it all worked in the end.

Next we'll stop over in Chicago, to the Uptown Theatre, where the Grateful Dead were playing a three night run in early December, 1979. From the first show, on 12/3/79, we have this classic late-1979 sequence from the end of the first featuring All Over Now, Jack-A-Roe, Lazy Lightning>Supplication, Althea, The Music Never Stopped. This tour, and the October/November tour, was really Brent's arrival with the band, as each night he sounded more confident and more integrated into the band's sound as both a keyboard player and vocalist.

From the very next show, on 12/4/79 at the Uptown, we have another first set closing sequence, this time made up of Minglewood, Stagger Lee, Passenger>Deal. This, like the previous sequence, was classic for the time.

From two years later, on 12/6/81 at the Rosemont Horizon just outside of Chicago, we have yet another first set closing sequence, Tennessee Jed, Looks Like Rain, Jack-A-Roe, BIODTL, China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider. This December 1981 tour of the mostly-midwest was the last Grateful Dead tour recorded on reel-to-reel, and although these weren't mixed specifically for the tape (they are PA feed recordings), they do sound remarkably robust.

Be sure to stop back again next week for great music from 1971, 1981 and 1989. It's always a pleasure to hear from you, so feel free to write to the email address below with questions or comments about the Tapers' Section.

David Lemieux


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shwack's picture
Joined: Apr 12 2008

Hey Man,
There were many "Chinese moments" during the '79-'81 era indeed!
Weir overhauls his LLR big finish during this period as is demonstrated on 12/6/81.
Thanks for another fine week of music
Merci Beaucoup Monsieur Lemieux

shwack in nh

Joined: Sep 4 2007
' 79 - 1981

How great it is that you highlighted the ' 79 - 1981 period for us this week D .

I really dig the fact that the band - aside from releasing Go to Heaven - were trying different things in their usual live settings & output .

The Warfield , and NY shows in Oct of 1980 . The adaptation to play acoustic ly , in almost a decade ..

Phil , whom began to use a Doug irwin bass guitar , changed to a fender Percision jazz . And then switched once more , to a G & L bass .

Lesh later .. through Geoff Gould , began to greatly be inclined for to the graphite neck basses Geoff was trying out . I think he made 3 for Phil , with a 6 string guitar graphite neck . That was probably very new in the music biz in general .. The graphite necks created a much deeper sustain in the lower bass notes and in general in all of the bass playing ; something that phil couldnt achieve as much with wooden necks ( Years later though he d return to wooden necks in 1990, thanks to Ken Smith basses } as the narrow 6 string modulus necks for his basses were unsuccessfully conditioning Phil s left hand to play the instrument as one should ; a detail that Modulus rectified later with wider necks maintaining the graphite element ]

.. The Dead PA was also quite mature , and ready for any ol ' place in the ' 79 - 1981 time frame ..... That time period is quite fertile with excellent recordings and peformances . Thanks D for the great musical insight and choices this week . A + friend

Benny Jakes's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2007
fire marshal conspiracy

So was Phil staying at the fire marshal's house for the shows
or what? And......did the band ever try the seats in the garden?!

Is that my glass? Can you see it? Understand me?

smallz's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2007
little surprise in that first sequence

A beautiful Mississippi 1/2 Step follows Me and Bobby McGee (the "hidden" track!)

Great selections this week, David. Keep that late-'79 shit coming!

Joined: Jul 20 2007
Sweet 73 version :)

Everything I tell you, I heard it first from you.
Heard your news report, you know you're falling short.
Pretty soon, we'll trust you for the weather.
When that ship comes in, you won't know where it's been.
You got to try to see a little Furthur ❤
They love each other ❤

mhayes's picture
Joined: Dec 29 2007
Cincinnati '73

I was there ... they where late and played a short set - but I enjoyed the show none the less.

Gr8fulTed's picture
Joined: Jul 9 2007
December's nearly here

Anybody have the scoop why the band was 2 hours late for the Cincinatti 12/4/73 show?
Jumping ahead 8 years, that Dec '81 run was very good. Will listen up on '79 today.


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