Today in Grateful Dead History: January 11, 1979 – Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

Dancing Skeletons

Nassau Coliseum was one of those east coast arenas, like Madison Square Garden and the Spectrum, that always seemed to bring out the best in the Grateful Dead.  I don’t think that I’ve ever heard a sub-par show from the Coliseum, and while tonight’s show is definitely not transcendent, it’s a good listen and an entertaining ride.

First off, don’t listen to the soundboard recording of this show.  The pitch is terrible and there are a ton of drop outs.  Check out the audience version instead, which is the correct speed and is well recorded.

The first set of this show is energetic, beginning with a nice Sugaree and ending with a very good Jack Straw>Deal.  I’m not a Donna Jean hater, but even I have to warn you that her contributions at the end of Deal are “unique”.  Everyone else sounds good, though.

The second set begins with I Need a Miracle, which is fine, and then some of the energy dips with Ship of Fools.  But after a brief aside to say a fake happy birthday to Mickey, the Dead ramp things up for the meat of the second set: Estimated Prophet>He’s Gone>Drums>Truckin’>The Other One>Stella Blue>Good Lovin’.  I love the transition from Estimated Prophet into He’s Gone, as well as the buildup from Drums into Truckin’.  The band plays The Other One with passion and Stella Blue is sublime.  None of these moments goes too far off of the tether, but it’s a really easy listening sequence in the best possible way, especially given the condition of the band at the start of the year.

Again, please avoid the soundboard and listen to the audience recording here:  https://archive.org/details/gd79-01-11.gatto.kempka.308.sbeok.shnf

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