Today’s Grateful Dead show from Alpine Valley in 1982 is not nearly as jammed out as yesterday’s affair at this same venue, but it’s still a very alive performance, enhanced by several all-star guests.
The band is certainly “on” in the first set, but the song selection, by 1982 standards, is pretty blase. Here it is: Alabama Getaway>Promised Land, They Love Each Other, Mama Tried>Mexicali Blues, Loser>Little Red Rooster, Brown Eyed Women, Looks Like Rain, Peggy-O, Samson & Delilah. Now, just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with these songs, and some of them are tunes I actively seek out, like Loser and Peggy-O. But I’m not going to wait to go to the bathroom because the band is playing any of these.
Fortunately, the band is playing these songs really well. Jerry’s guitar work on They Love Each Other, in particular, merits special attention, and after the Mama Tried>Mexicali Blues twofer, he’s right back at it, ripping it up on Loser. Looks Like Rain is a pretty good version, too. And, finally, check out the setlist placement of Samson and Delilah in the closing slot, something that only happened two other times out of 364 total performances of the song.
Speaking of setlist shenanigans, the band comes back from the break and launches into . . . Far From Me! Now, Far From Me was not played nearly as often as Samson and Delilah, but out of 74 performances, the Dead only opened a set with it one other time – next month on 9/24/82 in Syracuse. So this is a rare event. I won’t say it’s enthusiastically welcomed by the crowd, but so be it. Rock on, Brent.
With that classic opener out of the way, the band gets down to business in the second set with a 24 minute Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain that rages for a good long while. In fact, just when you think they’re done, the boys run back into Fire on the Mountain for one last, two minute blast of guitar heroics. This blends right into Estimated Prophet, which, like a lot of versions of this song in 1982, is used as a vehicle for the deep space jamming of the night. As Estimated Prophet winds down, the Dead are joined on stage by Indian drummer extraordinaire Zakir Hussain, who plays with the band for the rest of the night. As Space eventually fades, frequent Dead guest John Cippolina emerges to play guitar until the bitter end. What comes next is a lot of heavy guitar action, especially during The Other One>Not Fade Away, as one would expect. When we get to the encore, the band busts out Satisfaction, which is not normally one of my favorite Dead covers. But tonight, it’s worth hearing, as Cippolina, Garcia and Weir all weave together into a very interesting montage. Since everyone’s in a good mood, we’re treated to a second, calmer, Brokedown Palace encore to end the evening.
This past week + of 1982 music is a really sweet run for the Grateful Dead, with top-flight shows in Austin, Kansas City and these two Alpine Valley performances. (They also played three other shows during this time which aren’t the best you’ll ever hear but they aren’t complete clunkers either). If you want some serious ’82 Dead, you’ve come to the right week.
Unfortunately, none of the recordings for this night is wondrous. But as AUDs go, this is pretty good, so I used it: https://archive.org/details/gd1982-08-08.138625.nak300.holbrook.flac2448