December moves along in the Grateful Dead recorded-history world to the tune of some outstanding shows. The 1973 and 1979 tours continue, as well as short three night run in Southern California on December 12, 13 and 14, 1980, all of which reside in the vault on cassette masters.
The 1980 shows were on the heels of the 11/30/80 show in Atlanta (see entry for that week to hear the first electric “Bird Song” in years), and the band brought that same energy they always seemed to bring out to Southern California. The version of “Feel Like A Stranger” heard here is another of the early versions of this song that stretched out to a good, meaty jam. Fast-forward ten years, and the band played the identical three nights, this time at McNichols Arena in Denver, which was widely considered to be one of the best of the runs early in the Vince-and-Bruce era. The DAT masters of these shows sound outstanding, and the performances match the sound quality.
The December 10, 11 and 12, 1972 run at Winterland was to have been a double bill with the Allman Brothers, but a death in the band prevented the Allmans from being on the bill. The Dead, though, followed the creed that the show must go on, and they turned in three excellent performances (capping them off with a great show on 12/15/72 in Long Beach, CA). Amongst the many highlights of the three nights at Winterland was this version of “Playing In The Band” from 12/11, a song that by this time had really hit its stride as the extended improvisational vehicle it was destined to become.
Feel free to get in touch with questions or comments, or if there is any particular show about which you’re curious about the vault source (if any), don’t hesitate to ask. We’ll try to address your curiosity in future entries, date-appropriate, of course.
David Lemieuxvault [at] dead.net