A couple of weeks into the new year and we’re still hanging out in the late 70’s, because there are no other recorded options available. That’s just fine, since the Dead are playing at a fairly high level in January 1979, especially considering that Keith and Donna were about ready to depart, ending the Dead’s longest era of concentrated musical success.
We’re in Providence, Rhode Island for today’s show, and the New England winter must be wearing on the band a little bit, as things in the first set seem somewhat unfocused. Mexicali Blues is the surprise hit of the first half, with an interesting back beat (once it gets up and running) and some great moments between Jerry and Bob. The rest of the set is pretty basic.
The Dead come out with some fire in their bellies with a second set opening trifecta of I Need A Miracle>Bertha>Good Lovin’. Two of these three songs (need I say which ones) aren’t exactly my favorite tunes in the world, but they definitely up the band’s energy considerably. Of course, the Dead then immediately transition into From the Heart of Me and Ship of Fools, which could have torpedoed the show. Fortunately, they rally with a fun (but not exceptional) sequence of He’s Gone>Truckin’>The Other One>Wharf Rat>Around & Around. Phil is all over He’s Gone and The Other One, so turn up your bass knob up as loud as it’ll go and enjoy.
Did you notice that there is no Drums sequence in the second set? Well, now you know.
The soundboard here isn’t wonderful, but it’ll do: https://archive.org/details/gd1979-01-18.sbd.miller.fix-102444.103186.flac16