Today in Grateful Dead History: August 28, 1982 – Oregon Country Fair, Veneta, OR

Dancing Skeletons

Did you know that the Grateful Dead played a second show in Veneta, Oregon almost ten years to the day after their triumphant August 27, 1972 performance?  Not only does the band pull out all of the 1982 stops for this festival performance, but they also debut two early-to-mid-80’s staple songs; the much maligned Keep Your Day Job and the more respected but still under-appreciated West L.A. Fadeaway.

I’m not even going to try to compare this show to its more famous older cousin – too much has changed over the ten years between stops in Veneta.  But looking at this performance in relation to other 1982 shows, I can say that we have a good early 80’s show on our hands.  You wouldn’t know it from some of the vocal flubs in Bertha, which gets things rolling, but everyone sounds psyched and it’s clear the band is having a good time.  The first hint of that “special something” takes place in Tennessee Jed, when Jerry and Bob play off each other for over a minute at the end with Brent joining in for good measure.  It’s All Over Now, usually nothing special, is something great today, as is the set ending China Cat Sunflower>I Know Your Rider.

The second set opens with Day Job>The Women Are Smarter.  On paper this looks terrible, but today this combination smokes, especially The Women Are Smarter.  (Remember, this is the first Day Job ever.  And speaking of Day Job, I think most of the problem with the song comes from the lyrics, which, as someone with said day job, I don’t find offensive.  Musically, I’ve always liked this tune, and have frequently found myself humming it hours after hearing it).  The meat of this show is a thrilling sequence several songs later:  Playin’ In The Band>Drums>The Wheel>The Other One>Truckin’>Black Peter>Playin’ In The Band.  The Dead must have channeled the ghosts of 1972 for this section – the jamming in Playin in the Band is fantastic, the transition into The Wheel is top of the line, The Other One is fun and Black Peter is a tour de force.  The Dupree’s Diamond Blues encore, which hadn’t been played since 1978, caps off a great day.

When I posted this I forgot to link to the show.  Here it is, a week later:


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