Grateful Dead

October 3- October 9, 2011

Tapers Section By David Lemieux

Welcome back to the Tapers' Section, where this week we'll check out some early, mid and late 80s Dead.

Our first stop is to hear some music from Set 1 at the Kiel in St. Louis on 7/8/81, featuring Althea ; Me And My Uncle > Big River ; Don't Ease Me In ; New Minglewood Blues. There was a lot of good music played in 1981, from the February shows in Chicago right up to 12/31/81.

Next up is music from the excellent summer tour of 1985, featuring the end of the show from SPAC in Saratoga Springs, NY on 6/27/85. This is a show worth seeking for it's really fun first set, as well. From the post-Drums we have Space>Truckin'>Spoonful>Black Peter>Lovelight, Johnny B. Goode>Baby Blue.

Lastly this week, from the first show of the summer tour of 1989 in Foxboro, MA, we have the end of the show, featuring The Wheel>Dear Mr. Fantasy>Hey Jude>Sugar Magnolia, Mighty Quinn from 7/2/89. This show had odd-but-cool first and second set openers, Playing>Crazy Fingers to open set 1 and Friend of the Devil to open set 2.

Be sure to join us here next week for more great stuff from the Grateful Dead's vault. As always, we encourage you to write to us at the email address below.

David Lemieux


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Joined: Jun 13 2007

B in G.ood
I'd go back to the Eighties
in a time machine in a minute.
Aww and all the friends
I had that were still alive
back then.
Thanks for stroll!

SPAC was Incredible too!
Delightful memories.
Love and light~ SB

Joined: Oct 23 2008
Saratoga 85'

I believe you are correct in stating that this is still a SPAC attendance record. I live about 30 minutes south of Saratoga and this show is STILL talked about. The 85' Saratoga show was their last show in Saratoga until 88'. The amount of garbage that was left behind by the crowd took 3 days to clean up entirely. The local news stations all highlighted the crowd and incredible amount of trash left behind. The Saratoga State Park that borders the SPAC grounds was crawling with people all around. It was truly a magical day for sure! Smiles all around no matter where you went.

Joined: Jun 29 2007
As a homebody but probably

As a homebody but probably neverretired boomer, I gotta lucky I was to see The Dead in Santa Rosa, Winterland and Filmore West in 70-71, Hell. I sat right across from a "YIPPIE" in a Berkeley apartment and we righteously came to the conclusion that the best way to convince everyone of the iimportance of the stakes was toTELEVISE EXECUTIONS. Smack it in your face. This guy was in cahoots with the turnin over of SF Police cars back around then. Wasted as I was, I thot not a whit of it. It all made perfecto sense.

To the Dead:

I frakken love the music you make/made. Always will. Commando o mahem....may many links survive!


Joined: Jun 15 2007

To my knowledge, unless I've missed one, you've never played any songs from the shows in Birmingham in the late 70s and early 80s. Personally, I'm getting pretty tired of Oakland, Filmore-whatever and Winterland. What gives?

shwack's picture
Joined: Apr 12 2008

Hey Man,
Enjoying the Stuck in the Eighties TS this week.

Merci beaucoup Monsieur Lemieux

shwack in nh

Joined: Mar 18 2010
Shoreline on my mind

This is a little random, even though there is a selection from 1989 in this week's Taper's Section. I would like to officially nominate the version of Feel Like A Stranger from 9/29/89 as a finalist for the most thrilling performance of this song ever. The Chair acknowledges the motion, and the nomination is now recognized. Carry on

Joined: Sep 11 2007
SPAC - the OMG experience

I know this won't be a popular idea, but it probably would do right by Rhino -- a 3-4 CD compilation of 1983-84-85 SPAC shows. Enough white heat highlights from those three nights to make for a killer Road Trips edition.

And who among us doesn't have great GD summer shed circuit road trips tales to tell?

Bach 2 Bach's picture
Joined: Jun 5 2007
Saratoga '85

Quite coincidentally, a fella I know had been cleaning out his garage, came across a copy of the local rag from June 28, 1985 and gave it to me this past weekend for no particular reason. But one news item on the front page caught my attention immediately:

Grateful Dead still going strong

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY (AP) - After 20 years of turning plain rock fans into "Dead Heads," the Grateful Dead continue to grow in appeal, drawing a record 40,231 fans to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Thursday night.
Last summer the group played for 37,000 people- then a record- at the open air pavillion usually better known as the summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet.
But Thursday night the center belonged to the Dead Heads, as the group's legion of fans call themselves. The word circulating throught a network of Dead fans is that the band is playing better than ever.
"It feels like the beginning of the next 20 years, not the end of the first 20," said St. Thomas, a Dead Head from Santa Cruz, Calif., who said he has attended 35 Dead concerts in two years.
Known for their spontaneous jam sessions of favorite Grateful Dead songs and led by the indomitable Jerry Garcia, the Dead lived up to their status Thursday night as one of the longest running acts to come out of the San Francisco area.


I believe that attendance record for SPAC still stands.

A funny story: As we headed to that show, cruising along the NYS Thruway, we passed a carful of Dead Heads partying it up. We waved to them, and they were quite enthusiastic in waving back- so much that they didn't notice their car was drifting much too close to ours. All of a sudden everybody was like, "Whoa!" for a couple scary moments. After a little evasive maneuvering we both managed to get things under control, and then they, quite embarassed, zoomed on ahead.

A few miles down the road, we pulled into a rest stop where we saw the same car at the curb talking to a couple heads. As we pulled up, they quickly sped off, and then one of the guys they'd been talking to came over to us and said, "Those folks want me to tell you that they are really, really sorry for what happened back there."

We were like, "Ehhh, no problem..." and laughed about it.

Joined: Sep 4 2007
Additional remarks

The thing is , that Phil mentioned in an interview some time ago . That in the 90 s the live repertoire ,and basically the whole ' product ' became really shallow ( with an enormous amount of exceptions obviously } . Where he wished the band would be mor daring diving into the Zone , or to a higher place than the standard 1st set songs . The Peggy - O s , the Minglewood Blues , Lazy river roads of the 1sets I love as anyone else . But Phil had a point .

I cant discard the 90 s , as thats when I saw my 6 shows . And the band rose to the ocassion on the 6 that I saw . There was magic at each one of the performances , and treasure the live recordings , or at least 4 of the 6 to a Serious extent - to be more exigent .......

In 1977 , early 1978 . And obviously in the great early 70s . The band really gave the ' Zone ' , the jams . That space where as many describe , the music plays the band etc . The band gave that art form , more consideration , space and time .

And boy did the Dead EVER Be the best at that

As many have said over time , this bands music is a wild goose chase ...

But obviously those folk are frigid music fans , or the air they brathe just ain t doing what it should


Joined: Sep 4 2007
1984 2nd sets are worth the price of admission

The 27th June ' 85 in Saratoga is an absolute riot . The 1st half though , as you say eclipses the 2nd to a certain extent .

In the mid 80 s i find many 2nd sets , save for 1984 ( Greek theatre , Many More examples } which had Monster 2nd sets . some in 85 . And some more in 1986 .

Many years down the line now . It s intrigung to analyze and decide which years REALLY were for keeps .......

As many have said before , the performances , years , tours etc that Stand the ' demanding ' test of time , are those that wil be the ones that keep the Dead heads ranting and raving forever on how good this band was during its 30 year tenure .......

^ In 1984 Phil was getting some wicked sounds out of his Moduuls graphite bass guitars , as hed been playing them for a bit more than a year , if I m correct ...


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