Today in Grateful Dead History: May 28, 1982 – Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco, CA

stealie NOTE: This material was originally published in 2015 on my previous site. It has been updated and edited, sometimes heavily, and was posted in several batches in September, 2016.

Our second benefit performance in a row, this one was for Vietnam Vets. The Dead shared the bill with Country Joe and Jefferson Starship and played the entire show with Brazilian drummer Airto Moreira. More importantly, John Cipollina sat in on Not Fade Away and he and Boz Scaggs sang / played on Walkin’ Blues, A Mind To Give Up Livin’>Turn On Your Lovelight>Johnny B. Goode. This was the only time the Dead played A Mind To Give Up Livin’ and they hadn’t played Walkin’ Blues since October, 1966.

This is a short show, but it’s action packed. Tennessee Jed is very raw, which is a good thing, and the entire second set with Scaggs singing and Cipollina playing is a blues/rock excursion that is worth hearing.

Most of the commentators on the Archive and Dead.net who were at this show complain about the sound quality in the pillared, low-ceilinged room, but this audience recording from an unknown source is really quite nice and sounds a lot better to me than the muddy soundboard version: https://archive.org/details/gd1982-05-28.senn441.unknown.87547.sbeok.flac16

Today in Grateful Dead History: May 27, 1989 – Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Stadium, Oakland, CA

stealie NOTE: This material was originally published in 2015 on my previous site. It has been updated and edited, sometimes heavily, and was posted in several batches in September, 2016.

On this day in 1989, the Dead headlined an AIDS benefit at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Stadium that also featured Tower of Power, Joe Satriani, Los Lobos, Tracy Chapman and John Fogerty.

I first discovered this show because Jerry and Bob played guitar for the John Fogerty set along with future American Idol judge Randy Jackson on bass, Steve Jordan on drums and Clarence Clemons on sax for Susie Q and Long Tall Sally. Although the Dead members just play backup for Fogerty, he’s in great voice and everyone is having a really good time.

The Dead’s show, which is actually two full sets, is a little bit of a comedown, energy wise, but what wouldn’t be compared to Fogerty? Clarence Clemons joins the band for a significant portion of this show, and while it’s interesting stuff, Clemons doesn’t come close to what Branford Marsalis pulled off the following year. Still, as a long-time Springsteen fan, it’s awesome to hear the Big Man, and this collaboration is made all the better since Bill Kreutzmann revealed that Jerry, Bob and Clemons considered buying a place together around this time. To be a fly on the wall . . .

The second set of the show is made notable by a Fire on the Mountain sans Scarlet Begonias, a good version of I Will Take You Home and a sentimental Brokedown Palace encore. Listening to the band here, you get the feeling that they are getting ready to explode, but they’re not quite there yet. It will come soon enough as spring turns to summer.

UPDATE: I was distracted the first time through the end of this show, so here are some additional thoughts upon further review. The Wharf Rat, while sloppy, is a forceful version with the whole band really getting after it prior to the final verse. It’s a pretty cool take on the song. In addition, the Lovelight with Clarence is fun too, and his solo in place of Jerry on Brokedown Palace adds another layer of emotion to the song.

You can hear the Dead’s complete show here: https://archive.org/details/gd1989-05-27.sbd.walker-scotton.miller.87604.sbeok.flac16

Today in Grateful Dead History: May 26, 1973 – Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, CA

stealie NOTE: This material was originally published in 2015 on my previous site. It has been updated and edited, sometimes heavily, and was posted in several batches in September, 2016.

This show is a great example of wonderful instrument separation on a recording. Bob is on the left, Jerry is on the right, and everyone else is spaced around the middle. The levels are well-balanced and you can hear each instrument very clearly.

Because of this, you get a good picture of what exactly Bob Weir meant to the band, which is not always easy to appreciate because 1. he’s usually buried in the mix; 2. a lot of his songs are just played to death and many of them are kinda cheesy; and 3. those shorts (although not in this era). Here, every crazy note that Bob plays is discernible and you’ll hear him do some totally bonkers and amazing things.

I think that this show is probably overrated because it was in circulation for a while and because the song quality is consistently good but not always other-worldly. The Playing in the Band is wonderful (and shows off the Bob moves I’m talking about, especially at the end) and the 3rd set is good but not as transcendent as others from this time period. Still, it’s definitely worth hearing, especially as a clear example of a band that’s obviously listening intently to what its members have to play.

You can hear the soundboard here: https://archive.org/details/gd1973-05-26.sbd.miller.patched.83535.flac16

Today in Grateful Dead History: May 22, 1993 – Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA

stealie NOTE: This material was originally published in 2015 on my previous site. It has been updated and edited, sometimes heavily, and was posted in several batches in September, 2016.

After saying yesterday that I usually pick 90’s shows based on their setlists, I go and choose this 1993 performance, with a very strange second set, as my next show.

Honestly, I got sidetracked by the first Supplication since 1984 and I didn’t notice what was or wasn’t happening later on. Check this out: Foolish Heart, Women Are Smarter, Ship of Fools, Corinna>Drums>Jam>The Last Time, Stella Blue, One More Saturday Night, E: I Fought The Law. I don’t know if I’ve listened to a full show with so little opportunity for extended playing. There’s a little noodling at the end of Foolish Heart and again after the heart of Corinna (this is the only “jammy” part of the whole show), but otherwise the second set just breezes by. Even the Mississippi Half Step that opens the show is truncated.

When this happens, I would hope that the songs would be well played, but there are lyrical flubs all over. Musically, things aren’t horrible here, and the strange bongo/toms intro to Foolish Heart made me take notice, but there’s nothing else of note going on.

Get the soundboard here: https://archive.org/details/gd1993-05-22.127320.nak300.bowen.flac16

Today in Grateful Dead History: May 21, 1992 – Cal Expo Amphitheater, Sacramento, CA

stealieNOTE:  This material was originally published in 2015 on my previous site.  It has been updated and edited, sometimes heavily, and was posted in several batches in September, 2016.

I try to pick shows from the 90’s based on their setlists and this show, from the Cal Expo Amphitheater in 1992, doesn’t have any songs that I dislike. (The same can’t be said for today’s 1993 show from Shoreline featuring Eternity, Liberty AND Way To Go Home. Yikes.)

So, about this show . . . The first set is fine, but nothing to write about. The second set actually has a neat Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain>Estimated Prophet>He’s Gone with a cool transition between Scarlet & Fire and a tinkly little jam into He’s Gone (the actual moment of transition, however, is quite abrupt). Standing on the Moon is one of my favorite Jerry ballads from this era, but he forgets the lyrics of the first verse and never really recovers. The show ends with Lovelight and a Gloria encore to get your feet tapping.

I think that when it comes to the later shows, we’re clearly spoiled by the quality of what came before. If I handed this show to an open minded person who knew nothing of the Dead, I think that they would enjoy it without trying to compare it to the shows from this day in ’74 or ’77 or even ’82 that they were missing. I certainly didn’t want to shut it off.

Here’s the Charlie Miller soundboard transfer: https://archive.org/details/gd1992-05-21.sbd.miller.92355.sbeok.flac16

Today in Grateful Dead History: May 20, 1973 – Campus Stadium, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

stealie NOTE: This material was originally published in 2015 on my previous site. It has been updated and edited, sometimes heavily, and was posted in several batches in August, 2016.

1973 is the year that keeps on giving, with massive, high-quality shows that tend to blend together since everything is just so jammed out and well-played. This daytime concert from the University of California Santa Barbara is no exception.

This whole show is very well done, but the versions of Tennessee Jed and Greatest Story Ever Told really highlight the interplay between the band members and stand out among the other short songs from this date. The jam in the middle of China Cat Sunflower and I Know You Rider is also tasty. Playing in the Band, closing out the first set, is the real winner here, with some exceptional moments. The second set is standard (other than the previously mentioned Greatest Story), but would be a good set to give to someone who really isn’t into the long jams.

The third set (yes, they played three sets for a lot of 1973) consists of Truckin’>Jam>The Other One>Eyes Of The World>Stella Blue>Sugar Magnolia and it’s a long haul, clocking in at over an hour. And what an hour it is. The Jam between Truckin’ and The Other One is a sparse back and forth, Jerry on one side and Phil and Bob completing each others’ thoughts on the other. Unfortunately, the solo out of Stella Blue is short – after this trip, you want one of those three minute beauties that Jerry ripped off in the 90’s but weren’t typical in 1973. Oh well.

Here is the link to the Charlie Miller transfer of the soundboard: https://archive.org/details/gd1973-05-20.sbd.miller.86905.sbeok.flac16

If you’re interested, the Grateful Dead Listening Guide has a post dissecting the third set in great detail.

Today in Grateful Dead History: May 19, 1977 – Fox Theater, Hotlanta, GA

stealieNOTE: This material was originally published in 2015 on my previous site. It has been updated and edited, sometimes heavily, and was posted in several batches in August, 2016.

We’re back, yet again, in May, 1977, because the heart of this show’s second set is Terrapin Station>Playin’ In The Band>Uncle John’s Band>Drums>The Wheel>China Doll>Playin’ In The Band, which I’ll get to in a minute.

But first, a brief discussion of the 16 minute Sugaree from the first set. Yes, it’s pretty good, but I won’t say that it’s a great version because there are several places where Jerry speeds up and the drummers slow down and the pace gets all garbled. I understand that it’s not easy to keep everything moving perfectly when you’re playing the same song for 16 minutes, but this fluctuating tempo takes away some of the magic for me. Jerry does do some serious shredding here, especially on the penultimate solo, and Bob’s rhythm guitar is high in the mix and very interesting to hear, but I can’t get away from the pacing issues. Also, lots of commentators on the Archive seem to think that this Peggy-O is incredible, but to me the versions from Boston and Buffalo earlier in the month easily outshine it.

Now, about the second set. This song sequence is pretty amazing, with a swirling lead into Uncle John’s Band and a great solo at the end of China Doll. The songs don’t get ahead of themselves and the band stays tight and in control without any “difficult” passages, making for a pretty darn great ride. There is no encore.

This show was released as Dick’s Picks Vol. 29, but here’s the soundboard: https://archive.org/details/gd77-05-19.sbd.direwolf.3120.sbeok.shnf