Today in Grateful Dead History: November 16, 1978 – Uptown Theater, Chicago, IL

Dancing Skeletons

Caveat: 1978 is my least favorite year of the 1970’s for Grateful Dead shows.  In fact, I can’t even come up with another year from the 70’s that I can say anything fundamentally negative about at all.  I love them all.  But not 1978.  1978 is a sloppy, distracted mess of a year that has much more in common with, say, 1987 than it does with 1977 or 1979.  This doesn’t mean that 1978 is bad, because any year with Grateful Dead shows is a good year, but the highlights in 1978 are fewer and further between than any other year of the 70’s and even most of the early 80’s.

I should post that disclaimer every time I write about a show from 1978.

So, this show from the Uptown Theater in Chicago . . . guess what?  It’s a typical 1978 show!  Scattered and not particularly well played.  And the recording isn’t great, either.  So what should you listen to here?  Dire Wolf is ok, as is Looks Like Rain.  My favorite song of the second set is He’s Gone, which is very nice and transitions into a cool version of Drums that finds Phil and Jerry playing along with Bill and Mickey for the first part of the song.  But that’s about it.  Everything else just kind of muddles along, including a second set ending Truckin’ which peaked my interest on the setlist but didn’t do much on tape.

Sorry for the negativity – I just don’t have a lot of patience for 1978 today.  Here’s the full audience recording:  https://archive.org/details/gd78-11-16.nak300.wiley.11487.sbeok.shnf

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