This week there is plenty in the vault from the band’s recorded history, and we’re going to begin with music from five consecutive years in the mid-1980s, and then we’ll follow that up with some music from 1993 and 1973.
Starting our 1980s celebration will be some music from Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael, CA. If you’ve never been, and you find yourself in Marin County, check this place out. It’s not fancy, and looks odd from the outside (it was, after all, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), but it just seems like a perfect place for the Grateful Dead to play. From 4/1/84, an early Rex Foundation benefit show, are these rocking versions of Big Railroad Blues and Cassidy.
Next up from 3/29/85 at Nassau Coliseum, is this interesting first-set jam of Supplication>My Brother Esau , drawn from the cassette master.
From 1986, drawn from the digital Beta PCM, we have a nice selection from the Spring tour. First up, from 3/30/86, is this second set opening combination of Touch of Grey>Samson and Delilah. There is certainly no denying the high level of energy the band brought on this tour. From the next night in Providence, 3/31/86, the combination of Roadrunner>West L.A. Fadeaway gives us one of the rare Roadrunners. A staple with Kingfish, it never made it into the Dead’s permanent repertoire. Also from the tour is this uncommon opener, from 4/1/86 in Hartford, featuring Gimme Some Lovin’>Little Red Rooster.
From a year later in Hartford, we have two nice segments from the first set on 3/26/87, the first featuring the show opening Midnight Hour>Cold Rain and Snow, a combination that wouldn’t have been out of place in 1966. Also from that show, this stellar Desolation Row>Bird Song pairing features exemplary performances of both songs. This is one of the few known tapes from that tour featuring a pure soundboard feed, which is a real shame considering how much great music was played on this “comeback” tour.
From 1988, at the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, NJ, the band played a great three night run, on the heels of the monster three nights in Hampton. From 3/30/88, we have the reversed take on a classic: Uncle John’s Band>Playing In The Band>Uncle John’s Band (with a bit of static on the tape courtesy of the DAT masters), and from 4/1/88 we have the stunning opening trio of Mississippi Half-Step>Jack Straw>To Lay Me Down, with the latter only reappearing in the lineup the previous week in Hampton. Note that before Half-Step, the band plays a little ditty (Little Bunny Foo-Foo), with Weir saying “Thank you very much, we’ll be right back.” April Fool’s indeed.
In 1993, the band would return for its by-then yearly trip to the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, and from 3/28/93, this mighty High Time is one of the many highlights of the first set. And from the second set, this terrific Scarlet Begonias>Fire On The Mountain combination is the start of a great set.
Finally, what would the week be without a couple of jams from the 1970s, specifically this week in 1973. First of all is a nice Playing In The Band from 3/30/73 in Rochester, NY. Also from this week in the band’s recorded history, here’s Here Comes Sunshine, Greatest Story Ever Told from 3/26/73 in Baltimore (as always, complete with the master reel cut on Here Comes Sunshine). Finally, something we didn’t have time to play a couple of weeks ago, the show-opening China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider from 3/16/73 at Nassau Coliseum, with a Bill Graham band introduction.
Be sure to come back next week for another good variety of Grateful Dead music, when we might play some 1972, 1973, 1982, 1988 and some other great music. You are encouraged to write with questions, comments and suggestions, so feel free to get in touch.
vault [at] dead.net