Greetings, and welcome back to the Tapers' Section, where this week we'll be hearing some music from an eight year span in Grateful Dead history, from 1973 to 1981.
We'll begin our week toward the end of the spectacular two month run of shows that ran between October 19 and December 19, 1973, with music from Duke University in Durham, NC on 12/8/73. This show took place 11 days before Dick's Picks Volume 1 (Tampa 12/19/73), and was during a short period (three weeks) during which Donna Jean was absent as she prepared for the birth of her and Keith's son, Zion, who was born on January 4, 1974. Donna missed the shows November 30-December 19, 1973, but was back for the three night run that opened 1974 in February at Winterland. From the mighty fine Duke show, we have a couple of the bigger jams that would generally end up in the first set during this era, Weather Report Suite, China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider, the sequence that ended the first set at Duke.
In 1978, the Grateful Dead hit the road for two short spring tours, one in April (4/6 to 4/24) and one in May (5/5 to 5/17), or maybe it was one long spring tour with a week and half break in the middle. Regardless, they hit the road and played some mighty fine shows. Some lesser lights, too, but for the most part this was an extremely interesting period for the Dead. The GD's tape vault is missing 4/6 through 4/16/78, but it contains the rest of the shows from 4/18 onward. If you own the So Many Roads box set (epic!), you'll know of the Stella Blue from 4/21/78 in Lexington, KY, but nothing else from that show has been released, so we're pleased to play some of the first set, featuring Promised Land, Dire Wolf, Mama Tried>Mexicali Blues, Ramble On Rose, Funiculi Funicula, Passenger. The bulk of Dire Wolf is missing from the master reel, but otherwise this is a typically hot-sounding Betty recording. This Lexington show is overall pretty good, but the next two nights in Nashville and Normal (IL) are both top notch Dead and are worth seeking out.
In the Fall of 1981, the Grateful Dead made their second trip to Europe that Europe. The first trip, in March, featured four nights in London followed by the Essen show with The Who on 3/28/81. The fall tour was much more extensive, running more than two weeks. Just prior to jetting across the ocean, though, the band played a very short mini tour of three shows in Bethlehem, PA (at Lehigh University), Buffalo, NY and Landover, MD. From that first show at Lehigh U. on 9/25/81, we've got Bird Song>BIODTL, Cumberland Blues, Passenger, Althea. This is from the PA cassette master, the standard recording format for most shows 1980-1982. After 1982, the recordings generally moved to Beta PCM digital tapes, followed by DATs after 1987.
Thanks for joining us here this week, and if you have any questions or comments, please do feel free to send us a note at the email address below. Please out “Grateful Dead” in your subject line so that your missive breaks through our state of the art spam filters.