Jesse Jarnow

#deadfreaksunite 1983

#deadfreaksunite 1983
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via Expanded notes for many shows (with press, scene reports, and images) can be found on Twitter by searching for my username (bourgwick) and the show date. Please consult JerryBase for the latest data, Dead Sources for original articles (1965-1975), and LostLiveDead/Hootrollin for deep dives.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981] [1982] [1983]

1/24/83 stone house:
a songwriting/rehearsal session at the stone house in fairfax, the 1st of 4 likely-misdated tapes that document a few of the dead’s lost futures. today seems to include everybody but garcia working on 2 new weir songs, 1 of which makes it to the dead. the dates range from 1/24-2/6 but weir was on tour in europe with pickup bands from 1/26-2/4, so i wonder if these are mixdown dates. 1st piece is labeled “jam” but weir is explaining chord changes. without garcia, lesh’s leads are extra-prominent & almost HELP ON THE WAY adjacent. there’s a voice on the tape i don’t recognize & electric piano is more conversational/aggressive than mydland usually is, so i wonder a little if it’s him. early version of HELL IN A BUCKET has a few different chords & alternate lyrics. can hear drummers start to figure out their spots.

1/31/83 stone house: bob weir & mickey hart playing with a song called MOLLY DEE. but, beyond their voices on the tape, it’s actually pretty confusing what’s happening. the song’s background reveals a fascinating window into intra-dead collaboration/experimentation circa 1983. weir overdubs 2 guitars on drum machine, including leads. polyrhythmic fun with ready-for-the-dead feel that makes me sad it didn’t get further. then, weir explains the changes to hart. much of the tape seems to feature a combination of pitched beats (programmed by hart?) mapped to weir’s changes, a mix of 8-bit grooves, live synth percussion/bass, maybe a few analog drums. my fave takes (tracks 11-16) are 2-3 overdubbed weirs plus synth bass. robert hunter included MOLLY DEE in his “a box of rain” lyrics collection with a note about its origins in a late ‘70s jam at hart’s ranch that also yielded the “shakedown street” song FRANCE.

2/1/83 stone house: the 3rd of 4 intriguing work tapes from early ’83 at the stone house in fairfax & maybe the most fun. not coincidentally, the only one with garcia. full band plays over a drum machine & works on 2 unfinished bob weir songs in unusual time signatures that recall the ‘70s & roads not taken in the ‘80s.for 45 minutes, band plays over weir’s programmed 5-beat pattern, which i think might be titled NORTH BY NORTHEAST, NORTHEAST BY WEST, with unsung lyrics by robert hunter ( ). while the drummer(s?) & lesh struggle, garcia just slides right in, playing through a few different ideas, most of which sound natural, eventually coloring with mu-tron. mydland shows up a few tracks in, just as garcia seems to be losing interest or getting distracted. the 2nd piece on the tape is apparently titled UFO, with only a pair of fragments, one of which features an even shorter fragment of (i think) weir’s demo playing through the studio speakers. weir attempts to establish a groove similar to the keyboard loop, but doesn’t get very far before the recording cuts. another fascinating lost direction.

2/6/83 stone house: i think it’s probably just a solo bob weir instrumental demo without anybody else, but hard to say if it’s even weir, except there’s nobody else in the dead that would probably make this. 8 incomplete & 1 maybe-complete instrumental takes of a song titled VICTORY that (to my ears) sound like a drum machine & lone musician overdubbing synth & guitar. the keyboards are halting & minimal, the guitar feels a little more natural. song’s odd turnaround feels weir-ish. without vocals, almost sounds like new agey japanese pop. of the 6 songs on these 4 tapes, hardest to imagine the dead engaging with this. dig the tape rewind sounds.

3/4/83 san francisco civic auditorium: garcia & weir play a 15-minute acoustic set at the bay area music awards in san francisco, end of the line for some of the garcia/ace acoustic songbook. 1st WAKE UP LITTLE SUSIE since 2/70, loose, perfect, & gone forever. last OH BOY, played once in ’71 but semi-regularly in ’80-’81. when weir introduces MEXICALI BLUES it’s clear it’s not a deadhead crowd, making it all funnier. a small stat: garcia’s last MEXICALI outside the day job. sweet extended solo! only DEEP ELEM BLUES has any security in the repertoire.

3/14/83 front street: rehearsal tape from their front street warehouse headquarters in san rafael, relearning how to play a mid-‘70s classic, working out a new bob weir tune, & hanging out with bob weir’s dog otis. fun to hear the band tap back into HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT! (perhaps due to lesh’s new 6-string bass), unplayed live since ’77. they seem to remember the shape, but pause a few times to work out details & dynamics & talk through the transitions with mydland, who’s never performed it. garcia makes suggestions about how to find his own space. after a few takes, they sound pretty comfy with the drop into FRANKLIN’S TOWER, which they don’t practice. most charming part of this #gratefuldead rehearsal tape is a bit of garcia & lesh goofing on otis, weir’s german shepherd, who is apparently also hanging out. “he has remarkably good taste for a dumb fuckin’ mutt,” observes garcia before they all tease the dog through the speakers. “where’s @dgans when there’s a real story around?” weir asks, possibly referring to their impending work on MY BROTHER ESAU. tape closes with 30 minutes of the band looping through weir’s MY BROTHER ESAU without stopping. weir sings the whole thing through a few times as everybody finds parts to play. probably their not 1st run-through. both weir & garcia are using slides on the 1st 2 passes. garcia puts his down, but then has to hold down the song parts while weir sort of plays slide. otis barks a few times near the end, far enough into the stereo field that it was quite startling on headphones.

3/25/83 tempe: wet 1st set with apropos weather songs, including COLD RAIN & SNOW opener. garcia stumbles on words in most of his tunes. lesh’s new 6-string announces itself frequently, basically soloing over garcia at end of NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES. debut of weir/barlow’s cryptic & tres ‘80s MY BROTHER ESAU with more drafts yet to come. unhinged 11-minute set-closing LET IT GROW almost falls apart a few times, but they sort of get through it & exciting territory grows from the chaos. 1st half of set 2 is short but happening. 18-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER, 1st since 10/77 & mydland’s debut. only bit rough around edges, charged & ready, slightly faster than before. 52-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. mydland drives short PLAYING to density. after garcia splits, spiky weir/lesh jam. garcia/lesh dialogue starts SPACE, rare since mid-‘70s. you love to see* it. (* hear.)

3/26/83 las vegas: weir apologizes for playing MY BROTHER ESAU at 2 shows in a row (300 miles apart). semi-officially acknowledging that the band are no longer repeating songs night to night. needs work. perfunctory 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. 48-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. crowd echoes weir’s ESTIMATED “NA!”s. glad it didn’t stick. midtempo EYES has little coherence, nice to have lesh in chat. only 2nd of 2 OTHER ONEs split by DRUMZ/SPACE.

3/27/83 irvine: little shaking on SHAKEDOWN STREET. classic @dgans photo sums up situation. MY BROTHER ESAU relaxes slightly & feels more dead-like, getting a very brief coda jam. besides peaks in 2nd set opening CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER & THROWING STONES, little drama. 56-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES > WHARF RAT has garcia bailing early in TRUCKIN’. few don martin-like DWOM!s in SPACE. garcia can’t seem to figure out how to start WHARF RAT.

3/29/83 warfield theater: benefits that establish the rex foundation & the 1st internally-run mail order. arrival of brent mydland’s new yamaha gs-1 #synth marks start of not-too-subtle new era, a sonic dividing line, but also the 1st lively dead music of the year. debut of mydland’s yamaha GS-1 (being played in this shot), tones stored on magnetic card reader. new digital colors in 8-minute BIRD SONG, 1st too-short jams of the year to feel like they reach equilibrium, like garcia flipping on the lights. GS-1 quite present during big 20-minute set-opening HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER, shimmering vibraphone on HELP, ’83-defining marimba tone on SLIP & synthy organ on lyric-scrambled FRANKLIN’S. 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > THROWING STONES > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > JOHNNY B. GOODE. the synth organ returns for ESTIMATED & when garcia splits, mydland flips to flute sound for short coda with weir, a new flavor. hart’s prayer bowl floats into deep SPACE, part buried by guitars/synths but a few moments of pure drone/bliss/chaos, one of the furthest-out & patient SPACE jams in a while, even as unchill melons start yelling requests.

3/30/83 warfield theater: lively DIRE WOLF. mydland cycles through GS-1 tones, flirting with strings on CASSIDY before rolling back. blown-out digi-barrelhouse briefly appears in MAMA TRIED, going back to piano, then to laser-tone. can sort of appreciate its ridiculousness with the polka of MEXICALI BLUES, which garcia seems to, as well. slightly extended solo, dancing between synth plops. tropical organ on CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER. MY BROTHER ESAU slightly fuller with woozy GS-1 ending. 51-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > MAN SMART/WOMAN SMARTER > CHINA DOLL > PLAYING IN THE BAND. PLAYING brightens when mydland gets conversational with marimba-tone, engaging garcia. return of the beam, melting into long SPACE with developed prayer bowl/synth/guitar jam, garcia eventually stating quiet subtle version of MAN SMART melody. nifty coda too, before 1st CHINA DOLL since 7/81, with GS-1 harpiscord. a song so delicate it ages with garcia.

3/31/83 warfield theater: rough night, garcia slipping into blown lyrics & general absenteeism. FEEL LIKE A STRANGER opener feels looser & few bpm slower than usual. garcia remembers WEST LA FADEAWAY, though, 1st of the year. not even much GS-1 newness (though good GS-1 photos). 62-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > THROWING STONES > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’. prayer bowl SPACE with flute chaos. marimba keys in OTHER ONE.

4/9/83 hampton: crazy hyped energy results in fairly shaggy BERTHA / PROMISED LAND combo opener but serves MY BROTHER ESAU well, starting to feel like a coherent song with a unified groove. mydland’s new GS-1 comes for LOOKS LIKE RAIN, though he pulls back midway through. set 2 opens with 18-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER, making its east coast return. great SLIPKNOT!, lotsa marimba-tone, sometimes a bit tentative during the thornier parts. 51-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES > BLACK PETER > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. TRUCKIN’ falls into SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING jam, 1st since pigpen’s death. sad that hart seems to left new SPACE toys back west. off-mic, weir recites his LITTLE STAR poem. a very non-committal “debut.” garcia repeats something like BLACK THROATED WIND riff before BLACK PETER. with lesh’s 6-string riff thrompage, SATISFACTION almost back to peak ridiculousness.

4/10/83 morgantown: GS-1 version of barrelhouse piano is icky, deployed on MEXICALI BLUES & TENNESSEE JED & FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. too-econo 47-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA DOLL. PLAYING lights up briefly when mydland goes to marimba-tone plus a few accidental seconds of alien-synth. rough approximation of CHINA DOLL. weir dedicates US BLUES encore to “the girl with lobotomy eyes.”

4/12/83 binghamton: 8-minute BIRD SONG, garcia bounding in happy arcs.1st with GS-1 synth, unobtrusive but unfortunate. severe tropical-lounge-core synth-tone would be a lot funnier if not used on PEGGY-O (though the parts would be kinda lovely on a rhodes). and people say MIDI was cheesy. nice dynamics, though. even dinkier-sounding on the more staccato parts of CASSIDY, indistinct keyboard attack just sort of fading into mushy air during 12-minute LET IT GROW. 22-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER has longest SLIPKNOT! since the return, garcia hanging in thrilling conversational shred-space. GS-1 feels a bit laser-clav on FRANKLIN’S, ala the later DANCING IN THE STREET. 48-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. SPACE is a typical hand-DRUMZ-to-garcialogue pass. long OTHER ONE for the era, nearly 10 minutes, but a self-contained wave that never quite breaks. big night in deadhead lore: previously, the audience has started clapping the NOT FADE AWAY rhythm & the band has started playing the song (in ’70, ’72, ’79). for 1st time, audience keeps clapping/chanting between set & encore, with band picking back up. the clap/chant is just the song’s title repeated over the clapping, not yet alternating with the full “you know our love…” phrase.

4/13/83 burlington: though none attend the show, an important tape for members of #phish when they enroll at UVM that fall. otherwise snappy CUMBERLAND BLUES is another case where new GS-1 turns mydland’s conversational detailing into something mushier & more indistinct. the digital barrelhouse has come to twinkle-plop on RAMBLE ON ROSE. on the other hand, mydland’s FAR FROM ME seems to have been waiting for it. 27-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is a bit messy & sometimes glorious, 1st of the GS-1 era, marimba & softer tones making mini scene changes for garcia during transition. 49-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > MAYBE YOU KNOW > DRUMZ > SPACE > MORNING DEW. ESTIMATED unwinds slowly to midtempo EYES with the ’81 groove, faux-rhodes sounding decent. after EYES, the guitarists abruptly bail for the debut of mydland’s MAYBE YOU KNOW, just keys/drums. not for me. deep SPACE. prayer bowls return alongside synth blurps & train whistles & garciaing, unfolding into spectacular, howling DEW. THROWING STONES jam starting to get more subdued, still raging. [

4/15/83 rochester: 14-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET bops around a late corner into a dark, happening place. garcia’s mic breaks down during BROWN EYED WOMEN. 10-minute LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION is 1st of year, transition feeling nicely loosened. pretty burning DEAL closer. unusual weir double-shot to open 2nd set, FEEL LIKE A STRANGER activating slo-mo laser-boogie between garcia & GS-1. proper full-band debut of mydland’s angry synth-blues MAYBE YOU KNOW, radio-ready chorus, full force GS-1 excursion with very little room for blowing. 67-minute HE’S GONE > LITTLE STAR > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > JOHNNY B. GOODE. debut of weir’s LITTLE STAR (aka BOB STAR), barely a song. a musical thought over blues murk (& prototype for later weir) churning into more question marks. super ace BABY BLUE encore, garcia in fully.

4/16/83 east rutherford: complete-feeling 1st set. 10-minute BIRD SONG has lots of great twining bass playing off garcia, arriving at great place before final climb, but also GS-1-ified, keyboards disappearing into the muck except at their most piercing. set closes with nice block where 4 of the 5 last songs are new & unrecorded, including weir’s increasingly confident MY BROTHER ESAU, mydland’s blustery MAYBE YOU KNOW, & garcia’s WEST LA FADEAWAY & hyper-speed set-closing TOUCH OF GREY. 45-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK QUEEN > IKO IKO. weir repeating “what a long strange trip it’s been” over TRUCKIN’ outro. stephen stills blows out for BLACK QUEEN, written for the dead & played once with them in 12/69. uh, high energy. stills takes well-emoted verse in IKO, mostly syllable-salad but a few words in there, too. IKO is way more appealing/ridiculous to me with lesh’s absurdist 6-string. after stills departs, garcia signals band into THE OTHER ONE, weir singing LITTLE STAR on top of the groove. not quite a song, not quite a rap, probably most accurately, 19-minute LITTLE STAR/THE OTHER ONE > THE OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER > ONE MORE SATURDAY MIGHT. doesn’t go far or long, but OTHER ONE conversation feels real for a flash. stills returns midway through BLACK PETER, adding appropriately scuzzed blooze-weave.

4/17/83 east rutherford: energetic & longish 1st set (by ’83 standards) with no cowboy tunes & only LITTLE RED ROOSTER to meh it up. garcia & weir bring out their new songs for 2nd night in a row. mydland finds soft calliope tone on GS-1 for DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES, less so on PEGGY-O, sounding almost 8-bit. would love a chillwave mix of *just* the keys & garcia’s voice. aggressive lesh bass from very first notes of CASSIDY, not quite cracking the song open but finding new dimensions. way fun 2nd set with 3 big jams. 21-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER, thrilling as designed. 44-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH. PLAYING webs out with GS-1 synth-harp weaving with guitar before marimba zones, fun even after garcia leaves. heavy SPACE, hart & co. apparently dragging around amplified garbage cans while garcia garcias. wolf eyes vibes. then, another visit from stephen stills for a CSN classic, gnarly but delightful. 33-minute THE WHEEL > PLAYING IN THE BAND > THROWING STONES > NOT FADE AWAY is just alright. stills comes back for more jammage during NOT FADE AWAY. if you’d trekked ass out to bleakest jersey to boogie, though, an excellent extended dance party in an era when the shows were getting shorter & shorter.

4/19/83 orono: only SHE’S ON THE ROAD AGAIN of ’83 & 2nd-to-last ever, always a fave, here with mydland’s GS-1 trying to drag the jug/garage/folk tune into the #synth era. IT’S ALL OVER NOW always seems endless to me & yet is almost 10 minutes here. 2nd set opens with 1st SUGAREE of the year, stretching lazily over 17 minutes. as i just learned from @InstituteJerry, the garcia band started playing it more than the dead in ’80, but this is the 1st year they *really* beat ‘em, 17-to-4. 63-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’. very little happening in HE’S GONE besides a poof of synth-harp as all exit. SPACE has prayer bowls & garcia & something that sounds like vacuum, before they move in/out/around SPANISH JAM, nice combo of synth bells & gongs (i think) as they drop into TRUCKIN’.

4/20/83 providence: garcia’s vocals moving towards the kermit-zone on RAMBLE ON ROSE. lovely solo. nice to hear the GS-1 sparkle dialed back slightly. fun & unusual ME & MY UNCLE > CUMBERLAND BLUES pairing, mydland still too neutralized, lesh thankfully not. LOOKS LIKE RAIN has pretty completely evolved its power ending now. nice ’n’ spritely 12-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, though garcia manages to forget the “northbound train” verse after he’s already starting singing. unusual mid-set BERTHA bounces into 62-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES > MORNING DEW. both ESTIMATED & EYES expand gently, EYES landing at “traditional” tempo/groove. short but effective outro with GS-1 marimba amid crashing DRUMZ. well-developed SPACE, kreutzmann (i think) joining early & free-drumming with the garcialogue, gradually frothing. ace segue into jammin’ THROWING STONES. speedy DEW, though.

4/22/83 new haven: weir gets into some vocal ad-libbing early in FEEL LIKE A STRANGER, stretching a little. 11-minute BIRD SONG climbs joyously, floating down while lesh flaps about, nice moment of quiet before reprise. mid-set sags a bit, but COLD RAIN & SNOW is at the right tempo/density/shape to become a 6-string showcase, entertaining (to me) given its folk origins. DEAL is extra-shredded/distorted blow-out. weir has taken to announcing the set break in some weirish patois. 20-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER, followed by weird grab bag. after MAN SMART WOMAN SMARTER ends, weir & garcia churn up, vaguely GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD-ish, 43-minute JAM > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > SPOONFUL > STELLA BLUE. long SPACE, garcialogue joined by bowls, then weir feedback. 1st SPOONFUL since 10/81, now entering weir’s bl00z repertoire. weir does his spiel in GOOD LOVIN’, but adds “and leave it on!”, 1st time callback back to live/dead.

4/23/83 new haven: PEGGY-O solo that i wish would go forever. adventurous, lush 26-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, garcia turning corners, dancing in air, flashing to little peaks. groovy weir shapes. bopping bass-led entrance to FIRE, losing some focus but sparking big. 59-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. garcia jams with hart’s SPACE bowls, dripping into extra-long latter-day OTHER ONE. nothin’ wild, way diggable pockets.

4/25/83 philadelphia: quite snappy BROWN EYED WOMEN, also revealing that the GS-1 actually has serviceable regular piano tone. wtf? icky sparkle is back for CASSIDY, but a totally happening version, in part because of occasional dissonances from mydland. 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is pretty top speed, but groove is laser-focused by RIDER. crowd cheers TOUCH OF GREY’s “we will get by…” switch. haven’t heard that before, but don’t always listen to audience tapes. 57-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > PLAYING IN THE BAND. PLAYING hovers, but stirs up dust. lurchy TERRAPIN. jerrybase needs a tag for when garcia sings “inspiration sue me brightly.” SPACE gets hep with gnarly garcia/lesh conversation. during WHEEL outro, magical turn that stopped me in my tracks, band rolling thru moody improvised changes 4x & dissolving back to PLAYING. super-charged GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD.

4/26/83 philadelphia: 14-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET ripe with GS-1 synth lasers, locking into garcia patterns. lesh behaves, though nearly gets weird near end. THEY LOVE EACH OTHER finds sweetness, another space for 6-string. last MAYBE YOU KNOW save one-off in ’86, a song i find uncomfortably catchy, despite (or cuz of?) its almost comically ‘80s “there’s only one way to make it today/and i’m doing all i can for me” ‘tude. 12-minute set-closing LET IT GROW briefly hits full ecstatic tumble. off-mic before set, weir goes over sequence with drummers, making sure they go right into DRUMZ after MAN SMART, trying to avert what happened in new haven… but also any chance of a jam. perfectly sturdy HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER. 48-minute MAN SMART WOMAN SMARTER > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > MORNING DEW. motionless SPACE almost finds mood near end with synth padding. hawt middle in THROWING STONES, now with locked-in jump to NOT FADE AWAY.

5/13/83 greek theatre: plenty of big lesh, distorting through COLD RAIN & SNOW on the soundboard. debut of weir & barlow’s new HELL IN A BUCKET, pretty coherent & fun already, cracking dynamics TBD. 1st set closes with double-jam of 10-minute BIRD SONG filled with bright brushstrokes & shredding 12-minute LET IT GROW. 2nd set is mostly 93-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’. whole lotta weir. the longest post-‘70s EYES, i think, just around 20 minutes. doesn’t go far, but has nice slow pre-hiatus tempo with garcia sticking around & painting sky ’til nearly end. hot mic during prayer bowl section, apparently making it into PA.

5/14/83 greek theatre: ultra-econo 1st set, not even 50 minutes. weir/mydland/lesh lock into nifty pattern under FRIEND OF THE DEVIL solos. crisp SHAKEDOWN STREET has excitable vocal yamming by weir/mydland. generally tasty 58-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA DOLL > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > PLAYING IN THE BAND > MORNING DEW. PLAYING finds 2nd gear before shifting back to theme, bigger thrills when CHINA DOLL upshifts. white-hot DEW crescendo. mega-falsetto weir in SUNSHINE DAYDREAM.

5/15/83 greek theatre: sunday afternoon dance music in the 1st set, give or take. HELL IN A BUCKET iffier on 2nd pass. garcia’s early ‘70s standards especially sunshine-y, RAMBLE ON ROSE & BROWN EYED WOMEN & set-closing DEAL (well, clangy ‘80s sunshine). at start of 2nd set, weir encourages crowd to sing happy birthday to sound engineer dan healy as healy cranks up the efx, which weir notices & laughs. 22-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER, big color-surfing FRANKLIN’S. 55-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE. no HE’S GONE jam, but flora purim, airto moreira, & billy cobham join for DRUMZ, etc. purim vocalizes during long/fun/weird SPACE that escapes garcialogues for participatory zonkscapes & coalescin’ TRUCKIN’ with chill GS-1 vibes. garcia has hard time starting STELLA BLUE but wrenching finish. john cipollina joins for NOT FADE AWAY, mostly inaudible. crowd keeps chanting/clapping (still just the title, though) until band returns.

6/18/83 saratoga springs: start of 1st “modern” east coast summer tour with familiar outdoor spots from the ‘80s/‘90s. long-deferred SPAC debut, originally scheduled for ’72. several layers of odd lurching energy throughout generally fun show, garcia in good voice & sounding confident, but also frequently scrambling lyrics. 10-minute BIRD SONG feels little rushed at first, like floating on gusts from an oncoming storm, but settles & sparkles. big crowd peak during ALTHEA & garcia fireworks during DEAL, extending into jam territory that could pass for a fast bright DARK STAR (post-BEAUTIFUL JAM, maybe) before final reprise. weir watch – HELL IN A BUCKET lyric flips from “you imagine me kissing the toe of your boot…” to the @dgans-contributed “you imagine me sipping champagne from your boot…” 2nd set opens with 24-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN has lots to like, mydland using GS-1 to sweetly quote I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW during intro (big cheer when crowd realizes), but also more weirdness. after marimba-synth section, jam slows into disconcerting but wide-open tempo, almost falling off-track, weir feeling extra-subdued. FIRE a little uneasy, too, weir singing chorus over the verse at one point. gnarly peak, though. brief noncommittal jam (garcia MIA?) before 52-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > PLAYING IN THE BAND > THE WHEEL. after usual high-speed dives, jam turns corner into quiet conversation before weir/drummers cavort. subdued 22-minute THROWING STONES > NOT FADE AWAY > TOUCH OF GREY, general mood seeming to feed into gorgeous languid THROWING STONES solo. something is way off with DON’T EASE ME IN encore, maybe garcia himself, can’t seem to find singin’ key.

6/20/83 columbia, MD: weir watch – census-designated locale makes weir’s brain grind & invent good generic shout-out in NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES, “and it’s t for right here wherever we are.” again addresses tourheads before repeated song, “for you folks who are following us around, we’re gonna badger you with some new tunes until we get ‘em right.” HELL IN A BUCKET not quite right, but provides spark, along with WEST LA FADEAWAY. big MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. first rain. then no rain. then rain. 53-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > LITTLE STAR > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, storm thickening. on-point peaks in TRUCKIN’ (where power flickers) & OTHER ONE, not always a given in this era. final version of weir’s LITTLE STAR poem. big moment is lightning striking pavilion (!!?) before “i’ll get up & fly away” in WHARF RAT, bass bombs & cheers & sound zap. weir spiels about aboriginal dream-time in SUGAR MAGNOLIA (“they think dreams are the real side of life”) then screams a lot.

6/21/83 columbia, MD: spritely spots in 1st set, including DIRE WOLF & big flows on CUMBERLAND BLUES (a surprise out of ME & MY UNCLE), BIG RAILROAD BLUES, & CASSIDY. LOOKS LIKE RAIN gets some cheers, calling back previous night’s storm. important pet update: TOUCH OF GREY, garcia substitutes “the cat has not been fed in years…” poor kitty. 2nd set keeps ball in the air 91-minute for TERRAPIN STATION > ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES > BLACK PETER > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’, all sounding pretty together compared to the spring shows. EYES at a brisk but not-too-fast tempo. highlight jam is engaged garcia SPACE-crossing with the DRUMZ, linking into a too-brief jam before hart switches to tinkling things & momentum dissipates. [3/4]

6/22/83 harrisburg: FEEL LIKE A STRANGER opener brushes into the zone & DEAL shreds hard. weir shouts out anti-3-mile island petitioners before 2nd set. 59-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > I NEED A MIRACLE > STELLA BLUE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. PLAYING jam gets extra-interesting for a few after garcia splits, synth creating good drone-bed for weirdnesses. weir channels garcialogue into 1st SPANISH JAM of the year. another big night for deadhead lore: the 1st version of the modernized NOT FADE AWAY audience chant emerges, “you know our love not fade away…” followed by the NOT FADE AWAY beat. there’d been audience clapping/chanting around the song previously, including the binghamton version in april that connected the set to the encore, but this version locks it in, though here the dead encore with BROKEDOWN PALACE instead of going back into NOT FADE AWAY.

6/24/83 madison: 14-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opener floats into bopping neons. FAR FROM ME is rare mydland song in the 2nd slot. extra-noxious LITTLE RED ROOSTER slide. the DEAL outro is a place where ’83 dead really have it together. healy slathers efx on weir’s voice during “take a step back.” 24-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER, especially percolating 1st half of FRANKLIN’S. emphatic stop after LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE before 41-minute JAM > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > MORNING DEW. besides drummers, everybody leaves & weir hammers at descending chords not dissimilar to MIND LEFT BODY. drumzers apparently wearing masks? audience tapes are getting better in this era, but missing soundboards during SPACE. train whistle? nicely spiky garcia/weir SPACE duo. solidly gnarly DEW peak.

6/25/83 st. paul: fun 1st set by my standards, but not much goes deep. tape-distorting lesh bombz in show-opening JACK STRAW & encore BABY BLUE. 10-minute LAZY LIGHTNIN’ > SUPPLICATION feels shaky but makes sparks by end. 54-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES > BLACK PETER. UNCLE JOHN’S skates briefly at density, thins, & disappears. weir’s SPACE shapes look for momentum with synth marimba. patient build into THROWING STONES with a few surprise turns.

6/27/83 hoffman estates: 11-minute BIRD SONG rides currents over quick-moving drummerly gusts. MEXICALI BLUES finds vivaciousness. rare set-closing SUGAREE has lyric scramble & colorful peak. 26-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN features h3tty blend of questing & exuberance. 58-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > OTHER ONE > THE WHEEL > GOOD LOVIN’. super-tight TRUCKIN’ hits but no jam. weir drives motion under garcialogue SPACE, xylophone & synth bells.

6/28/83 hoffman estates: short 1st set with crisp playing on uptempo tunes, entering good bounce-trance in FEEL LIKE A STRANGER, but nothing doin’ really. 23-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER, garcia hitting deep place during SLIPKNOT. 54-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. HE’S GONE breaks have fresh feeling phrasing. big tank-emptying SUGAR MAGNOLIA. rare IKO IKO encore.

7/30/83 ventura: always-rare CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER show opener, 1st since ’79, surely perfect for a breezy afternoon on the ocean, messy with sparkling bass/synth rain during the transition. much of 1st set continues at similar balance. weir spaces a bunch of lyrics in set-closing MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. 57-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA DOLL > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER. fast-chattering jam. ugly near-collapse at the tempo shift in CHINA DOLL, churning back into PLAYINGish jam. long static DRUMZ, but fun jagged SPACE with thumping roto-toms & plonked 6-string bass that keep it moving like a real jam. “let phil sing!” chant before encore, 1st time i’ve caught one of those. careful there!

7/31/83 ventura: band is either hotter tonight or it’s just a great soundboard mix. everything firing in 1st set & especially lesh’s absurdist lead bass. surprising JACK STRAW peaks, bubbling FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, even weir’s cowboy medley seems conversational. WEST LA FADEAWAY feeling extra-together. 67-minute HELL IN A BUCKET > SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. after slight expansion inside BUCKET, mydland & drummers tag on tiny coda & garcia upshifts not-totally-smoothly into SCARLET. pensive FIRE transition with swaying synth-marimba. plain DRUMZ again, no extra toys. long OTHER ONE doesn’t do much. weir throwing cool & unusual shapes in fun NOT FADE AWAY. TOUCH OF GREY switches “say your piece & piss off” for “& get out.”

8/20/83 frost amphitheatre: 9-minute BIRD SONG flies into storm of slashing guitar, pounding synth, bubbling bass. long SHAKEDOWN STREET percolates, turns corner before reprise. 58-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER, common-seeming sequence only run once before, in reno ’82. ESTIMATED relaxes into conversation. fast-but-not-ludicrous EYES with weir-led outro. rare jam after 2nd OTHER ONE verse. weir riffs on “pocket pool” in GOOD LOVIN’.

8/21/83 frost amphitheatre: gentle afternoon 1st set. only CASSIDY show (or set) opener. reports of garcia controlling weather at “this space is getting hot” in ALTHEA. bombastic-in-a-good-way LET IT GROW. 52-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > THROWING STONES > NOT FADE AWAY. pause between WHEEL & THROWING STONES feels like continuous thought. as at ventura, weir seems to find new dimensions late in often-automatic NOT FADE AWAY jam. lovely & disconcerting musique concrète SPACE features excerpts from “the digital domain: a demonstration,” a then-new hi-fi CD produced by a bay area consortium including meyer sound & stanford researchers, featuring the THX sound (composed by stanford dead freak andy moorer), an airplane taking off (john meyer told us about this sound on the deadcast) & other waviness. too bad there’s no soundboard.

8/26/83 portland, OR: gs-1 synth clouds under PEGGY-O, like ambient production sheen. 12-minute LET IT GROW almost rages free. 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, garcia finding sweet assertive melody in FIRE outro, feel carrying over into extra-mellow MAN SMART/WOMAN SMARTER intro. 57-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > WANG DANG DOODLE > STELLA BLUE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. 1st full WANG DANG DOODLE by willie dixon. meh on multiple levels.

8/27/83 seattle: lively JACK STRAW opener with 1-is-where-lesh-thinks-it-is bass bombs. 1st dead DEEP ELEM BLUES since 3/82, when garcia started playing acoustic shows. dig the lope. blown lyrics all night for garcia/weir. fiery, lesh-y DEAL outro. 69-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES > BLACK PETER > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. PLAYING widens to good transition. BLACK PETER’s outro finds newest turf in little big groove that holds for 30 seconds.

8/29/83 eugene: 13-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opener with lotsa assertive weir in the mix, making it feel extra-fresh. 10-minute BIRD SONG goes on a perfectly swell float-around but doesn’t quite break through the clouds. garcia shows up for 14-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, just a font of ideas & turns during the transition. 66-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > THE OTHER ONE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > JOHNNY B. GOODE feels mostly coherent. really enjoyed the long, thoughtful ESTIMATED with unfurling martian-reggae bassline & surprisingly organic move into one of the more ludicrous-speed EYES (~135 bpm), which manages to sound natural in context, & has its own fireworks. everything else just fine.

8/30/83 eugene: ken kesey does half-effective crowd control on behalf of venue. “about the smoking…” [whispers] “make it into tea, fools! you can do it about half-hour beforehand & it comes on just right! you don’t need to sneak anything!” [stops whispering] “don’t smoke.” points out that there’s a “dance hall” downstairs where the show is being shown on closed-circuit video so people can “get frenzied.” for a finale, tells crowd a secret: garcia’s black t-shirt is tattooed on. neither the tightest nor jammiest night. weir immediately faceplants the lyrics for multiple verses of opening FEEL LIKE A STRANGER. spark-raising 12-minute LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION. 53-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES > NOT FADE AWAY. end of TERRAPIN blooms into rare 3-minute coda jam that carries the energy into dramatic starshine improv & back. NOT FADE AWAY tails into clapping, creating a full ending before WHARF RAT > SUGAR MAGNOLIA.

8/31/83 eugene: ken kesey’s intro & time-killing joke are exclusive to the audience tape. mydland’s era-defining GS-1 synth is prevalent, playing “calliope” on DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES & featuring on nearly everything in 1st set except openers & closers. in some ways, a culmination of starting to get keith godchaux to experiment 10 summers earlier. i know ‘80s synths have come back, but this model still sounds chintzy to this late-cusp gen x’r. 67-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA DOLL > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’ with a few minutes of PLAYING-like territory-questing after CHINA DOLL (featuring “harpsichord”). kesey toodles harmonica during SPACE. kesey returns to stage between 1st & 2nd encore for long list of thanks/credits for the dead’s 3 days at the hult, brings out sis-in-law sue.

9/2/83 boise: rare lesh banter to start, “citizens of boise, submit or perish, you are are a conquered people.” rather low-energy opener for that intro with weir’s WANG DANG DOODLE, though a slinkier & more double-drummer-ready groove than his other “blues.” hitches it to JACK STRAW for double-weir to start show, a keynote for a low stakes 1st set, which immediately takes another double-weir turn with a pair of C&W tunes. crisp BROWN EYED WOMEN. fun extended BIG RAILROAD BLUES solos. 26-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER has some missed HELP lyrics/transitions, heating up during SLIPKNOT! in part thanks to dense mydland comping. solid FRANKLIN’S filled with currents & tidal pools. 77-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > BLACK PETER > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. on-point midtempo EYES with tight weir/mydland thrills after garcia splits. roto-tom DRUMZ, garcia/weir SPACE.

9/4/83 park west: cheers, obviously, for “spent the night in utah…” in FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. 27-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, transition lately feeling more psychedelic/democratic, blurrier, less dramatic. hard to quantify! 61-minute MAN SMART/WOMAN SMARTER > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > THE WHEEL > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. tight SPANISH JAM, weirdness at edges via lesh’s 6-string. big WHARF RAT build, almost faceplanting.

9/6/83 red rocks: pretty satisfying show, even more so when listening to an audience tape & projecting to red rocks on a late summer’s night. way-committed garcia on opening ALABAMA GETAWAY, only muffing a few syllables, & extra-present across the set. sweet PEGGY-O. 11-minute BIRD SONG overcomes sickly GS-1 synth tone, patiently climbing before dramatic half-time peak. joyful 26-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER is blurry on many details but garcia finds deep turns in vibed SLIPKNOT! middle. 60-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND > THROWING STONES > NOT FADE AWAY. PLAYING tethered by hi-hat until last moments. weir tosses SPACE shapes to garcia, a breath from coalescing into a theme. graceful suite-ish linkage from PLAYING reprise into THROWING STONES, though that’s a lotta weir.

9/7/83 red rocks: not many jams but garcia having fairly together night, present vocals & not too many lyric scrambles. short 1st set picks up with crisp LOSER, new tunes (MY BROTHER ESAU & WEST LA FADEAWAY), burning CASSIDY, & 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. set 2 opens with still-rare I NEED A MIRACLE. 64-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. long SPACE, drumzers sticking around a bit, several sub-themes. on-point STELLA BLUE.

9/8/83 red rocks: strong RAMBLE ON ROSE for era, cheers for #nyc lyric in colorado, tape-distorting lesh rumbles at last peak. 27-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with synth cloudburst during transition that seems to push garcia. unfocused but peaking FIRE. 80-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > OTHER ONE JAM > THROWING STONES > BLACK PETER > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’. brief & rich gong-SPACE by garcia/weir/hart settles around OTHER ONE triplets.

9/10/83 santa fe: really fun night, lotta bass. micro-jams in 9-minute MUSIC NEVER STOPPED opener that just won’t… stop, tho weir drops words. garcia looking icky, sounding present, his tunes especially uptempo in rain-shortened 1st set (also maybe why weir skips cowboy & blues). extra solo chorus in BIG RAILROAD BLUES finds neat place. 11-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with exuberant garcia shreds before transition, a few speed bumps agreeing on that tempo through RIDER. everything clicking in 2nd set, even MAN SMART/WOMAN SMARTER gets little interesting at tempo. fire CUMBERLAND BLUES. 61-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA DOLL > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. PLAYING takes a moment to widen. from CHINA DOLL, churning jam minus garcia, shifting a few times. double-rainbow during DRUMZ. in SPACE, garcia & weir hit a pair of cool themes (bright, then moody) that the ’72-’74 band would’ve surfed, but rhythm section is MIA & they dissolve, though jam stays quizzical with comical stereo-panned bicycle horn. OTHER ONE gets fierce, continuing after 2nd verse with lesh/garcia pocket. rare COLD RAIN & SNOW encore, rarer lesh vocals.

9/11/83 santa fe: solid WEST LA FADEAWAY & HELL IN A BUCKET but 1st set drags with weir country/blues covers. mostly-together 21-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER is ultra-compact. long LET IT GROW storms in place but doesn’t expand. except for powerful MORNING DEW, 72-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > WANG DANG DOODLE > MORNING DEW > AROUND & AROUND > SUGAR MAGNOLIA doesn’t carry much oomph for me, weir blues songs even more groany in 2nd set.

9/13/83 austin: not much 1st set action. MUSIC NEVER STOPPED tamer than santa fe. low-energy 29-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. 60-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPANISH JAM > THE WHEEL > THROWING STONES > NOT FADE AWAY, TRUCKIN’ gets weird for era, partly ‘cuz garcia sticks around. collective SPANISH JAM with duck calls, marching clomp, roto-tom boings, bass splatter. after NOT FADE AWAY, crowd chants/claps, but not so band can pick up, though hart drums along when they return.

9/18/83 grass valley: need a term for when a 1st set escapes unscathed by weir’s slow blues & cowboy tunes. tight FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, near enough to reno that grass valley would’ve been on narrator’s path if they’d headed west. 13-minute LET IT GROW turns 3D near end. 71-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. good starlight jam in TERRAPIN, more notable for confident garcia-less coda improv by weir/mydland/drummers.

9/24/83 santa cruz: garcia leaning into vocals, though not always remembering words. already rare, last dead version of DEEP ELEM BLUES, a classic from the folkie days. stays in garcia’s side acoustic repertoire after, including gigs with weir. 1st DAY JOB since new year’s, garcia charged, back in rotation for the next few years. pleasant 9-minute BIRD SONG with sweet climb & too-brief garcia/lesh jams. goofy off-mic chatter, “we’re getting our space together,” weir announces with lisp. there’s a wasps’ nest under the stage, per weir. peachy 14-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER but uneven set. TRUCKIN’ reaches tight peak but garcia departs with jam still going, weir leads some, but thread dies entirely. 53-minute DRUMZ > SPACE > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > THROWING STONES > NOT FADE AWAY. somewhat bleak garcialogue SPACE. NOT FADE AWAY locks in, though. new move, too, continued from austin, with long drum outro, setting up crowd to chant/clap.

10/8/83 richmond: healy cranks mydland’s keys during FEEL LIKE A STRANGER opener, shifting perspective, dialing it back down as band stretches lightly. songs feel looser & more ornamented without being jammier. debut of weir’s whammy bar & hanging chords, changing his sound permanently (not always in a great way, to my ears, rarely doing as much as when he just plays). reports of onstage garcia/weir tension. shrill weir slide abuse on NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES. big garcia/mydland DEAL outro. 69-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > CRAZY FINGERS > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > SPOONFUL > WHARF RAT > GOOD LOVIN’. PLAYING fierce near end, weir on new whammy bar. 1st CRAZY FINGERS since 10/82, last ’til 4/85, pretty together. balafon adds melodious DRUMZ swirl, crossing to SPACE. garcia allegedly quotes 007 THEME but i don’t hear it? SUGAR MAGNOLIA, briefly, pre-GOOD LOVIN’, fun ambiguity when they modulate. weir watch: “let’s just look at the world today, what can anybody say? IT’S FUCKED.”

10/9/83 greensboro: 12-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opener whips up brief froth. totally shrill slide guitar in LITTLE RED ROOSTER, so much so that engineer dan healy adds echo & it sounds some dude with a laptop layering in bird calls. as a listener more astute than me observes, this is the 1st version of MY BROTHER ESAU where they nail new crisp ending they’ve been working on since late summer. 15-minute LET IT GROW blows through jam transitions but has chattering keys & ecstatic pay-off. 64-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > MAN SMART/WOMAN SMARTER > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. weir-involved ESTIMATED shriek-&-response, colorful blossoming into coo-coo uptempo EYES, almost a different song. garcia maybe doesn’t notice weir’s MAN SMART hijack ’til vocals start. brief balafon SPACE, great quiet transition. garcia leads band into SUGAR MAGNOLIA (continuation of 2-show passive-aggressive mini-battle between him & weir?). big whammy bar finale.

10/11/83 madison square garden: another WANG DANG DOODLE opener, which seems like the opposite of how to tap into #nyc energy? still, a fresh feeling show with 5 new-to-repertoire songs, a big bust-out, & variety of unusual moves. 12-minute BIRD SONG, the age of weir’s whammy bar now fully upon us. not as icky as attempted slide guitar (but not not-icky), adds space but removes weir’s voicings/movement from the weave. nice co-leads in later part, though, with elegant landing. a very jerry 2nd set, starting with 15-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. swaggering RIDER groove, big “northbound train” verse. hart (i assume) is playing some hard-tapped rim-thing that’s very loud in mix. most unusual 70-minute I NEED A MIRACLE > BERTHA > CHINA DOLL > DRUMZ > SPACE > ST. STEPHEN > THROWING STONES > TOUCH OF GREY. all 3 pre-DRUMZ songs have jams where they usually don’t; MIRACLE melting outward, BERTHA flipping to quest mode, CHINA DOLL unfurling some. 1st soundboard with balafon DRUMZ, sounding lush, though not crossing into SPACE. 1st ST. STEPHEN since 1/79, beginning its brief final return. huge thrills/chills on audience tapes. even has a bit of a jam, though shaky in parts. lesh sings (though not for 1st time in years, as sometimes reported, just a few weeks). THROWING STONES has big moments, too, and garcia engineers a clever segue into SUGAR MAGNOLIA out of the final singalong but fakes into TOUCH OF GREY.

10/12/83 madison square garden: always a hoot at a garden party. big COLD RAIN & SNOW intro bass & more lesh vocals. especially embarrassing weir slide during NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES. some deeper garcia cuts, including semi-rare CUMBERLAND BLUES (can feel the garden bounce) & IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES (& sway). enjoying MY BROTHER ESAU’s newer tighter swagger, upping its voltage a bit. dramatic LOOKS LIKE RAIN garciaing. gonna have to lose some DRUMZ & move encore to 1st tape to even fit 2nd set on a 100-minute blank. 28-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER; ultra-messy in written parts of SLIPKNOT! but good dense jam. not many sparks in 64-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER > NOT FADE AWAY, not even SPACE marimba. debut of garcia-sung REVOLUTION is fun & he gets more syllables than it sounds like at first! weir keeps attempting to shoo-bee-doo, ala REVOLUTION 1.

10/14/83 hartford: as a newly-minted teenage dead freak when this “dick’s picks” came out in 1996, the 1st set was so unappealingly bland/middle-of-the-road to teenage-me that, even though i could tell there was good stuff on the other discs, it took me another two decades to take ‘80s dead seriously. with the 1st set included, it’s a souvenir for (some) deadheads & (to my ears) even detracts from their legacy. delete the 1st set & it presents the still-adventurous part of the ‘80s dead. prominent synth-marimba intro to 31-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, which i can now embrace. both jams emit wild sparks. 74-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. ESTIMATED unfolds to free drone-swells & long, chill, & rare adventurous EYES. assertive mydland & mega-engaged garcia turn corners all the way to end. only SPANISH wisp. powerful STELLA BLUE, besides metronomic drums in quiet parts.

10/15/83 new haven: weir channels aspiring thereminist on NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES “slide” “guitar.” garcia’s righteous BIG RAILROAD BLUES solo keeps rippin’ & snortin’. 14-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with acrobatic transition, RIDER’s kinda messy. cloudiness before 64-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA DOLL > DRUMZ > SPACE > ST. STEPHEN > THROWING STONES > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. long PLAYING landing. fun multi-theme SPACE cycles loveliness & peaks before tight(er) STEPHEN.

10/17/83 lake placid: 16-minute SUGAREE opens, righteous twirling, weir digging his new whammy bar. it’s long? back of 1st set feels fresh with MY BROTHER ESAU & HELL IN A BUCKET, 13-minute BIRD SONG with dense sky crescents & DEAL that just keeps DEALing. 1st TO LAY ME DOWN since 8/82 (& last ’til mid-’84), l’il rusty. 61-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > I NEED A MIRACLE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > GOOD LOVIN’. weir goes environmental in GOOD LOVIN’ rap.

10/18/83 portland, ME: tour rarity LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION opens up with weir whammies. bumpin’ 14-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, lesh hits FEELIN’ GROOVY descent 1x at synth-pool transition. 73-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER > AROUND & AROUND > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. luxurious bass-y ESTIMATED. fun SPACE: balafon efx, duck calls, scream-outs, music box (?!), weir shapes, lesh chatter, & inventive resolve to NOT FADE AWAY.

10/20/83 worcester: fairly scuzz-vibed 1st set, worcester appropriate. 20-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER with especially snarling SLIPKNOT! & surprising weir shapes under FRANKLIN’S outro. SAMSON & DELILAH almost collapses during intro before 58-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND. brisk re-grooved EYES, uneventful SPACE. distressing STELLA BLUE, garcia cycling through chords, unable to start.

10/21/83 worcester: bass-dotted near-jams in MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, CUMBERLAND BLUES, & CASSIDY. sweet, gradual transition in 29-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, garcia’s guitar wrapped around solid kick-drum amid synth sparkles. low-energy FIRE, though. 62-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT. fun, chaotic PLAYING melts via warm, insistent electronic drum. long ambient-ish SPACE, weir hints at SAGE & SPIRIT. weir watch: in TRUCKIN’, lyric change to “ever since she went & got her frontal lobes rearranged,” slightly less icky than the trans-shame-y variation about a sex change.

10/22/83 syracuse: bass makes fun left turn just before vocal reprise in 14-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opener. 11-minute BIRD SONG is subtle sky-dome ballet for indoor stadium. propulsive HELL IN A BUCKET, all rhythmic parts firing, tied together by lesh. 69-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > THROWING STONES > NOT FADE AWAY > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. weir-led post-TERRAPIN jams don’t catch. fantastic crazed SPACE with engaged garcia/drumzers, twisting WHEEL outro.

10/30/83 marin county veterans memorial theatre: to my ears, a ho-hum night. striking overdriven B3 intro to 2nd set opening BERTHA, the kind of part that might be iconic if it was the album version. 39-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > SPOONFUL. a few fun grooves/variations while they dally en route to TRUCKIN’. powerful SPOONFUL if you accept that concept, but a buzzkilling move for me (& sort of fizzles as they fold into BLACK PETER).

10/31/83 marin county veterans auditorium: airto moreira adds percussion for most of show. oddly graceful WANG DANG DOODLE > MY BROTHER ESAU but extra-short super-meh 1st set with 2 weir blooze, though nice moves in PEGGY-O (gorgeous garcia tone) & crisp BROWN EYED WOMEN (with unrelenting double-drummer backbeat). crisp 22-minute HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S TOWER & 79-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > ST. STEPHEN > THROWING STONES > NOT FADE AWAY. extra-shrieky ESTIMATED. stage-front DRUMZ vocalizing by hart/kreutzmann/moreira. less SPACE, more chaotic improv. a few sustained & enthralling flows/climbs/peaks, brief marching edge of SPANISH JAM, maybe some proto-VICTIM shapes by weir, punctuated by final ST. STEPHEN, meaningful but sluggish.

12/27/83 san francisco civic auditorium: CC RIDER ~10bpm zippier than fall takes with animated garcia riffs. 31-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN intensifies when weir stops whammying & gets aggressive, spurring garcia, before neat thin-out & big FIRE. 60-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES > BLACK PETER > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. early in long SPACE, weir develops choppy MIND LEFT BODY variant. when lesh arrives, jam floats/builds around near-SPANISH JAM.

12/28/83 san francisco civic auditorium: sounding like the ‘90s with all weir’s fuzzed whammying, his vocabulary diverging from consensus rock. jagged splatter on 12-minute BIRD SONG. weir disappeared from mix in set 2. 62-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND. long, sleepy PLAYING. fun SPACE shapes by garcia/weir/hart(?), though they drop thread. already rough STELLA BLUE kinda chintzy with whammy & cycling synth tones.

12/30/83 san francisco civic auditorium: over-the-top BERTHA/GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, feeling more like new year’s energy. 14-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET hits lumbering glide. 56-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > MIND LEFT BODY JAM > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT > GOOD LOVIN’. uneven TERRAPIN, an “inspiration sue me brightly” night. stereophonic DRUMZ. cued by garcia for once, 1st real MIND LEFT BODY since 10/78 is way fun, lesh joining midway. smooth move into TRUCKIN’ but weir doubles back.

12/31/83 san francisco civic auditorium: opening set by The Band is new model 8-piece version, with extra keys/bass/drums/guitar, sounding beefed-up for the ‘80s, with MYSTERY TRAIN & some of the other double-drummer grooves sounding more like the ‘80s dead. mostly, danko on guitar and/or helm on mandolin. not enough songs with them together as rhythm section. CHEST FEVER smokes. manuel’s voice especially is a bit gruffer, but could listen to him sing ray charles songs from any era. garcia’s in a mellow mood in 1st set, but weir punching out rockers. nice HELL IN A BUCKET shreds. on tape, there’s only a very mellow new year’s countdown, but i like this description from a newspaper report about the screens displaying “a video image of the fabled Big Brother of ‘1984’ fame. a caption underneath his fearsome image gave the fans the message that Big Brother had been watching us for years, that he was tired, and that, in 1984, we would all have to take care of ourselves.” 64-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THROWING STONES. from a long floating ESTIMATED, garcia lands in EYES at a chill tempo (if scattered feel), but almost immediately the drummers (or *a* drummer) start implying a very unchill double-time, & things liven significantly, though still scattered. SPACE finds cool near-electro pulse. dense NOT FADE AWAY jamming with audience clap coda. “3rd set” is plenty o’ fun, though barely 20 minutes. including garcia’s 1st BIG BOSS MAN since 12/31/81, with sadly inaudible rick danko on acoustic/vocals & maria muldaur on tambourine. 1st MIDNIGHT HOUR since 12/31/82. closes with the only dead version of leadbelly’s GOODNIGHT IRENE, muldaur finally getting a verse (the former JGB member’s final time singing with garcia) & joined by john cippolina, his last time with the dead.

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