Today in Grateful Dead History: August 14, 1979 – McNichols Arena, Denver, CO

Dancing Skeletons

We’re going to wrap up Red Rocks week with this show from 1979 that was supposed to take place at the amphitheater but was moved indoors to McNichols Arena due to bad weather.  This show is notable because it features the premiere performance of the Brent Mydland classic Easy to Love You.

In other news, Tennessee Jed is pretty funked out and The Music Never Stopped is a fair performance, but the first set doesn’t do much more.  It’s interesting, after listening to three days of 1987 shows, to hear the band’s 1979 sound, which is so much thinner in every respect, from Jerry’s guitar tone to the drums to Phil, who is very present in places on this superb audience recording.  This isn’t a complaint, just a note.

The second set opens with a very good version of The Promised Land and the band doesn’t let up from there for the rest of the night.  Samson and Delilah moves briskly into a nice version of Terrapin Station before we get a great 1979 Playin’ in the Band with some epic passages at the end.  Post-Drums the Dead ramp up with a very funky intro to Not Fade Away which gets the crowd really going.  After a few more songs, we get treated to a double encore of U.S. Blues > Johnny B. Goode, likely as a reward for having to move indoors.

All in all there’s nothing super special about this show, but it wasn’t a letdown either.  Playin’ is definitely worth checking out.  Here’s the link to the great audience recording:


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