Today in Grateful Dead History: August 29, 1983 – Silva Hall, Eugene, OR

Dancing Skeletons

1983 has drawn the short straw on this site, with fewer entries than any year except for 1967.  I don’t know why I’ve ignored 1983, but we’re going to make up for it this week, with the first of three shows in a row from Eugene, Oregon.

Like many of its 1983 brethren, this performance is fast-paced, with speed racer versions of Might as Well, Estimated Prophet and Eyes of the World (to say nothing of the out of control Johnny B. Goode that closes the second set).  Unfortunately, some of the Dead’s subtlety is lost in the avalanche of notes, but Estimated and Eyes are both worth hearing for the sheer shredding value.  China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider don’t suffer from the same issues and are decent, if unspectacular, tunes.

If you’re looking for more delicate moments, they do exist here, with a very pretty Bird Song (a consistently good song in the early to mid 80’s) and The Wheel, which transitions into a relatively dynamic but unfortunately truncated version of The Other One with wonderful Brent organ involvement throughout.  (There’s a really nasty cut on the tape that nearly ruins the whole thing).

The recording quality for this show is not the best.  Like many performances from the early and mid 80’s, the soundboard levels are all messed up, but at least that recording gives us a chance to really hear Bob Weir in places where you don’t usually pick him up well, like on Birdsong, and there are recording-related Phil bombs in places they don’t belong throughout the first set since his bass is way to loud on the tape.  The audience recordings are muddy and the levels are too high, so avoid them on this night.

Check out the soundboard here:  https://archive.org/details/gd83-08-29.sbd.willy.11603.sbeok.shnf 

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