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