Today In Grateful Dead History: August 20, 1980 – Uptown Theater, Chicago, IL

stealie After yesterday’s incredible performance, and having taken a glance at the setlist for today’s follow up show in Chicago, I was a little anxious to see what the Dead had in store for us on this day in 1980.  I don’t know if it’s just a case of expectations influencing reality, but this show never achieves full flight.

The biggest problem is the second set – the first set is chalk full of good songs, well played but otherwise pretty boring, save a very good Let It Grow near the end of the set.  But here’s the rest:  Greatest Story Ever Told>Althea>Lost Sailor>Saint Of Circumstance>Terrapin Station>Drums>Not Fade Away>Morning Dew>Good Lovin’, E: U.S. Blues.

Today’s version of Althea doesn’t quite match yesterday’s intensity, and Lost Sailor/St. of Circumstance is inconsequential.  The breakdown before the second part of Terrapin Station is beautiful, with Brent playing soft runs that accentuate the transition, but otherwise the song doesn’t do much.  The big highlight from a setlist perspective is the Morning Dew, which was only played four times in 1980 (if you believe the comments – again, DeadBase doesn’t work).  However, just because it’s there doesn’t make it great, and the performance itself is pedestrian.  Ditto the rest.

At least the recording’s sound quality issues have improved.  While we don’t have a soundboard recording for this show, the audience recording is better than yesterday’s effort, even though you need to do some playing with the equalizer to get there.  This version, to my ears, is the better of the two available sources:  https://archive.org/details/gd80-08-20.naks.munder.8740.sbeok.shnf

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