Today in Grateful Dead History: December 16, 1978 – Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, TN

Dancing Skeletons

Good news!  I found a show from 1978 that I like.  And this recording is a very high quality audience tape, to boot.

This is a Jerry Garcia guitar clinic from start to finish, with that ragged 1978 sound turned up really loud for most of the show.  This does slightly impact the mix, but since Jerry is crushing it, who cares?  Exhibit A is the very first song, Sugaree, with Jerry slow-playing his hand towards a monstrous conclusion.  Big River sounds like everyone might have partaken in the type of chemical enhancement that Johnny Cash sings about in a different song from one of the prison albums that rhymes with windowpane shoes.

The second set opens with Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain.  While most of the time the transition is the thing here, tonight the solos before and after that sequence are what kill – rapid fire Jerry runs all over the place make for satisfied customers in Nashville.  The band conjures up some deep juju during He’s Gone, with tons of vocalizing layered beneath yet more Jerry playing that merges together into a witches’ brew that ultimately collapses into DrumsDrums/Space is merely one long transition from He’s Gone to a bomber of a The Other One, which pops up from almost nowhere at the end of Space and grabs you by both ears and shakes you.  Throw in some more slicing, fuzzy guitar on Wharf Rat as a desert and you have yourself a really enjoyable second act.

I’ve badmouthed 1978 a lot around here, but this show is worth your time.  Check out the remarkable audience tape here:  https://archive.org/details/gd1978-12-16.sonyecm250-no-dolby.walker-scotton.miller.82212.sbeok.flac16

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