August 15, 1981
Set List:Shakedown Street
Me and My Uncle
Let it Grow
Might As Well
Man Smart/Woman Smarter
To Lay Me Down
Saint of Circumstance
Not Fade Away
One More Saturday Night
Attendees of this show
Don't remember too much about this show except that Memorial Coliseum is one skanky barn of concrete to hear a show in. yuk
I had a week vacation coming up from my job in LA, so I decided to mix pleasure with pleasure and visit a high school friend Humboldt and bounce off a Dead show in Portland. My white shepherd dog Sam came along, and at the last minute my guitar playing buddy hopped onboard as well.
Straight up Hwy 5, then up to Eureka/Arcata to pickup Mark. I remember skinny dipping in the river and a little cafe where the banjo/guitar duo started each number with a sly sniff of butyl nitrate. Over into the Trinity Nat'l Forest at Willow Creek to catch up with my first girlfriend Silvia and our high school buddy Johnny, who introduced us to laughing gas. Next morning over to Hwy 5 past Shasta and straight up the middle of Oregon to Portland. I must not have been too familiar with the geography of Portland because I was a but surprised to see a grain ship parked behind our motel. Doh!
We arrived just 90 minutes before the show and I came on mightily while diving repeatedly and erratically into the pool, while my friends dabbled in milder refreshments.
The place was a big concrete barn. I remember that the audience were mostly in denim overalls and we joked that they'd all come in on tractors. However, once the lights went down and the music and crowd started churning, it was obvious that it was indeed one of THOSE nights. Shakedown snaked and bubbled and the instrumental mutated into that old Hard To Handle vibe and back again. The crowd became a seething biological brew, some folks were spilling off the upper decks and into the level below, cresting waves of arms rippled back and forth across the floor. My non-DeadHead friends both asked me if I'd dosed them (I hadn't) as they were both in the thralls of an acute contact high!
The break came and went and we were still up there. This was the first time I'd heard 'em do Woman Smarter. The girls were all singing in affirmation "That's Right!", and the guys were all agreeing in cynicism "Yeah Right!". Then we mellowed into To Lay Me Down. I was still lamenting (probably always will) a lost true love, but my mind wandered to others until I was brought back to earth by "to lie with you..to tell sweet lies" and knew I'd been busted! The rest of the evening my guitarist buddy and I analyzed and guessed "who's got the ball?", i.e. Bobby's leading the music, no now Billy's leading, now Jerry's driving, etc. It was a ripper of a show and my pals were both stunned and impressed.
Drove back down Hwy 5 in 100+ Oregon August heat and dropped off Mark back in the Redwoods. Then spent a few more lazy days heading down the Coast Highway via Monterey and the craggy surf back to LaLa Land, with some Long Beach shows just a few weeks off.
a liquid Let it Grow .... a cracks in the mezzanine floors looked like the Grand Canyon ....
Pre-drums 2nd set was sweet
Had been to NYE show 1972 but due to crazy circumstances did not get on the bus. My friend invited me to come to Oregon with him to see the Dead in August 1981. During Shakedown Street, which I had heard on the radio, I realized that something was going on here. The song sounded nothing like the studio version, and it was hot hot hot. I moaned to my friend that I had missed 9 years of seeing the Dead....I lived in San Francisco and could've seen them a lot! I made up for lost time by going to every Bay Area show after that, and a lot of others, as well.