Today in Grateful Dead History: January 5, 1979 – The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA

Dancing Skeletons

There was no show yesterday, and today’s 1979 performance from the Philadelphia Spectrum is the only available show for January 5th, so we’re going through a fairly dry patch.  So be it.

This slightly shoddy audience recording captures the Dead at the tail end of the Keith and Donna era in a building known for its fabulous Dead shows.  The first set on this night starts with a long, slowish (for 1979) version of Sugaree that leaves you thinking that this is going to be a laid back affair.  The rest of the set doesn’t do anything to persuade us otherwise.

But the heart of the second set, Estimated Prophet>Eyes Of The World>Drums>Truckin’>Black Peter, is quite good, especially Estimated Prophet, which takes off midway through and gets into some very jazzy territory by the end.  Truckin’ is a pretty thrilling ride with a long Nobody’s Fault jam that transitions into a booming Black Peter.

Although the sound quality here isn’t awesome, it’s nice to hear everyone dialed in and seemingly having a good time, even though the band dynamics were apparently seriously strained.  If you don’t have all day, just check out the middle of the second set for a taste of what the Dead were capable of doing at the start of 1979.

Listen to it here:  https://archive.org/details/gd79-01-05.naks.wiley.17342.sbeok.shnf

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