Grateful Dead

September 28 - October 4, 2009

Tapers Section By David Lemieux

Welcome back to the Tapers' Section as we close out September and head into October. This week we're going to listen mostly to music, and goooood music, from 1976, with a touch of 1989 mixed at.

The fall tour of 1976 featured some exceptional concerts, and some intriguing and inspired set lists and song combinations. After an entire tour now under their belts after their nearly two-year hiatus, the Grateful Dead settled into a touring schedule that would be the norm for the next 19 years, with each year generally featuring three tours, plus several short batches of shows in a region or a bunch of California shows. Our first stop in 1976 this week is in Syracuse, NY, with music that is part of the stellar Dick's Picks Vol. 20, the second 4-CD Dick's Pick, after the outstanding Vol. 14. From the second set of 9/28/76, we have Jam>Comes A Time>Drums>Eyes of the World>Orange Tango Jam>Dancing In The Street>Playing in the Band, Johnny B. Goode. the orange tango jam is unlike anything i've ever heard the grateful dead do.

From the very next show, on 9/30/76 in Columbus, OH, we have another big 1976 second set jam, featuring St. Stephen>Not Fade Away>Drums>Wharf Rat>Not Fade Away>St. Stephen>Around and Around. The coolest thing about these fall tour of 1976 second sets is that each one is completely different and unique. They did things at these shows that they'd never do again, nor before.

To prove that point, here's another massive 1976 second set jam, from 10/2/76 in Cincinnati, with the incredible segment of Dancing In The Street>Drums>The Other One>Stella Blue>The Other One>Sugar Magnolia. Every show featured something interesting. The first sets on this tour were very good, but the second sets were stunning for the most part.

Our last selection, from 20 years ago this week, is the return of Death Don't Have No Mercy, from 9/29/89 at Shoreline. As a famous Dead Head once said, this was the last time he truly saw Jerry blow his mind with a guitar solo. It is exquisite, and very deserving of its inclusion on the exceptional 5-CD boxed set So Many Roads.

Be sure to make your way back to this site next week for more great music from the Grateful Dead's recorded history. As always, we welcome and encourage you to write to the email address below my name with any questions or comments

David Lemieux


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DoDa Man's picture
Joined: Sep 16 2008


DoDa Man ;^ )

Without love in the dream it'll never come true
Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia

Joined: Oct 2 2009

i did it again!

sorry for the grammatical errors. i need a proofreader...

Joined: Oct 2 2009

dear santa,

i wish that:

1/ you would bring back the downloads.

2/ you would bring back the downloads.

3/ you would bring back the downloads.

4/ my two front teeth.

Joined: Aug 30 2007
worthy of so many roads?

Death DHN Mercy is interesting, but not worthy of the so many roads, if memory serves me well the beautiful jam, found inside dark star from 2/18/71 is on so many roads, this sets the pace in my opinion for only the top tier musical moments to be worhty of selection. And there are plenty to choose from, but most pics seem out of place to me.

Just about any 1969-70 death don't have no mercy tops this version. Come to think of it, the so many roads contains far to much 80's and 90's material and very few 70's. it kind of skims through the 70's as if it was uneventful and under-recorded, when in fact songs suck as the 9/29/89 death would not possess its significance if for not live dead of 1969. Yet tracks like help slip frank from 6/9/77 the midnight hour from 4/29/71 or the 5/26/72 playin INB are not to be found. I'd hate to think that a newby picks up so many roads and assumes it's the bible and is luke warm.

truth is GD is so wide and amazing that no opinion is ever absolute, but I don't think I am wrong.

Joined: Sep 4 2007
Great criteria for picks

Loved your output this week . Its true , 76 had some jaw dropping song combinations going on .

I love Upper Darby PA June 22 Comes a time > fingers or vice versa ( cant remember if fingers or comes a time comes first . I also have agreat tape of July 16 Orpheum Theatre . Theres also a very scrambled 2nd set with Stronger than dirt as a highlight . Fall 76 though ive always reflected on as the prelude to the monumental early 77 and later spring , summer fall 77 . Because the band was finally getting their road material - gear , PA systems etc - up to par after the almost 2 year time out . And they did ..

claney's picture
Joined: Jul 20 2007
Oh 1976 yes

God I love this 1976 stuff. Especially great to come across this while waiting for delivery of the newly re-released CD version of DP 33. There have been delays, and I've listened to all my 1976 shows at home while eagerly waiting... and voila! This will help get me through (Please Mr. Postman!)

I love this year - the unique jam sequences, their vocal mix, Jerry's Travis Bean guitar... even the oft-maligned martial drumming style. And Phil was in funkmaster mode that whole year.

Thanks David for this!

lamagonzo (not verified)
Death Don't

With that kind of build up you just gotta listen to this Death Don't. One thing is for sure, the Dead sure kicked ass at the Shoreline! Phil is a powerful underlying presence in this piece.

Luv it! Wish I was at one of the all too rare performances in 89..

SaintSteveg's picture
Joined: Nov 19 2008
Have mercy

OMG, that Death Don't Have No Mercy is freekin hair-raising! It is like too strong to be mere entertainment, especially intense to hear Jerry and Brent wailing it. I know death don't have no mercy in this land, but sometimes the loss is hard to bear. RIP, old souls of music... we miss you, but it sure is a blessing we still get to hear you. Just another example of why the Grateful Dead are not just the best at what they do, they're the only ones who do what they do.

Joined: Aug 16 2007
"Play All Night"

There's a guy you can hear on the tape from Syracuse 9/28 who yells just that as they're getting into 'drums.' Love it!
I was at the previous night in Rochester, which for sure should get released someday. A fantastic, unique second set that night in the War Memorial was exactly along the lines of what Lemieux was talking about up above.

Joined: Jun 7 2007
Fall '76 Digital Box Set

I'd like to see a digital box set of all fall '76 second sets (the ones that haven't already been released, that is, in Dick's Picks 20 or 33.)


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