Today In Grateful Dead History: July 10, 1981 – St. Paul Civic Center, St. Paul, MN

stealie This show from St. Paul starts off as a pretty typical 1981 performance, with a great setlist and high energy, but not a lot of interesting things going on musically in the first set.  (The first time through, I really liked Cassidy, but upon further review, it’s a pretty normal version).

Things get a little more interesting in the second set, with a fantastic transition from Eyes of the World into Drums and then, after Space, this:  Uncle John’s Band>Playin’ In The Band>China Doll>Uncle John’s Band>Playin’ In The Band>Around & Around.

As some of the commentators on the Archive mentioned, this sequence would be a hell of a lot better if it happened in 1973 instead of 1981.  But since I’m trying to assess these shows both in relation to the band’s whole catalog and the particular year in which they were performed, I’ve got to say that, for 1981, this bunch of songs rocks pretty hard.  It’s clear that everyone is enjoying the performance, and there are a couple of nice jammed out threads between the first Uncle John’s Band and Playin’ in the Band (the end of Eyes is still the best part of the show).  However, Bob ruins things at the end by leading us into Around & Around instead of something a little more appropriate.  (To be fair, he did this a lot in the 70’s too, segueing out of an incredible Dark Star and into El Paso instead of going straight into Eyes of the World on 8/1/73, for example).  There is a Casey Jones encore, which is always a cool way to end things.

So, I’d say definitely check out Eyes and if you have the time, stick around for the rest of the 2nd set.  You’ll enjoy the ride.

Here is a link to the audience recording, which, according to a commentator who says he was the taper, was recorded on a hand held mic pointed at the sole PA speaker behind the stage:  https://archive.org/details/gd81-07-10.nak300.munder.7314.sbeok.shnf

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