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This Week In Grateful Dead History #16 (Week of 5/13)

Welcome to the weekly newsletter that brings you the most interesting and significant facts from Grateful Dead History, along with reviews of the music for the week ahead! The idea is to give all you Heads a "Heads up" on the interesting and cool stuff the Grateful Dead were up to on this week in history! So tell me what you think!

Here's the highlights and listening recommendations for Issue 16, for the week of May 13th, 2024 so check it out:

  • First "Jack-A-Roe", "Attics Of My Life", "Nobody's Fault But Mine Jam", "Passenger", "Iko"

  • Only confirmed performance of "Ballad Of Casey Jones"

  • Remembering Ramrod (RIP 5/16)


May 13th

  • 5/13/72 Lille Fairgrounds, Lille, France - Officially released on Europe '72 The Complete Recordings. An excellent show but maybe one of the more subdued shows from this tour, if there is such a thing. Highlights include "China Cat > I Know You Rider", "Playing", and a monster "Other One".

  • 5/13/73 Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines, IA - Officially released on Here Comes Sunshine 1973. A three set monster of a show! Highlights include "They Love Each Other", "Box Of Rain", "China Cat > I Know You Rider", "Big River", "Here Comes Sunshine", and the big jam portion of the show starting with "He's Gone > Truckin' > Drums > Other One > Eyes > China Doll".

  • 5/13/77 Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL - Officially released on May 1977. May 1977 is obviously an incredible time period for the band, so this show has kind of lived in the shadows of other more incredible shows in proximity to it. There are some peak moments in here that make it worth a listen however. "Jack-A-Roe" is the first time played, "Scarlet > Fire" to end set 1, and "The Other One" in the second set are all very nice.


May 14th

  • 5/14/70 Meramec Community College, Kirkwood, MO - Partially released on Road Trips Volume 3 Number 3 and the Bonus Disc. The Dead were in the midst of laying down studio tracks for their "Workingman's Dead" album at the time, so those songs are kind of featured during shows of the time period. Overall a very nice show that includes an acoustic set. Highlights include "Deep Elem" with an intense groove to it, "China Cat > I Know You Rider" and "High Time" have excellent vocal harmonies. Buried deep in the second set is the first performance of "Attics". They sincerely try their best to make this a memorable moment but the playing seems to be a little "flat" along with the vocals harmonies. The jam finally heats up for an incredible version of "New Speedway Boogie" that contains the first performance of "Nobody's Fault But Mine Jam" stuck in the middle. It's an intense version with a sweet slide guitar by Jerry. This leads right into a strong "St. Stephen" then a blazing "NFA > Lovelight" to end the set strong.

  • 5/14/78 Providence Civic Center, Providence, RI - Officially released on 30 Trips Around The Sun, this is a gem of a show. Very strong performance captured in perfect sound quality on the official release. Be sure to listen to this one, it's highly recommended due to vigorous playing, and extended versions of several songs as noted. "Mississippi Half Step" and "Cassidy" are both very gratifying. Other first set standouts are "Me & My Uncle > Big River" and a monster 17:30 minute "Let It Grow" to end the first set. The second set kicks off with a rousing "Samson" that clocks in at 10 minutes. "Estimated > Eyes" has a unique feel to it. "Eyes" is funkier than usual due to Bobby's contributions. The entire post-Drums is also powerful.

  • 5/14/80 Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY - This entire show is excellent with inspired playing and singing. There really isn't a bad moment the entire time but the peaks are "Alabama Getaway > Promised Land", "Let It Grow > Althea", "Music Never Stopped" and "Comes A Time > Other One".


May 15th

  • 5/15/70 Early and Late shows, Fillmore East, New York, NY - Parts of these iconic shows were officially released on Road Trips Volume 3 Number 3 and the Bonus Disc. These shows were all billed as "An Evening With The Grateful Dead". The standard format was Acoustic Dead, then New Riders, then Electric GD (sometimes two sets). There's a sense of magic in the air for these shows, and there certainly are some truly amazing moments here, fueled in part by David Nelson and Marmaduke guest appearances. Early show highlights include a unique acoustic standalone "I Know You Rider", acoustic versions of "Cumberland Blues" and "New Speedway Boogie". The second set switches to electric instruments. Highlights are "Easy Wind", "St. Stephen > Other One > Cosmic Charlie". Late show highlights include acoustic "Deep Elem", "Ballad Of Casey Jones" (first time played). The Road Trips release is the only place you can get "Deep Elem" and the full performance of "Ballad Of Casey Jones". Additional highlights include a searing "China Cat > I Know You Rider", "Cumberland Blues", "Hard To Handle". "Good Lovin' > Drums > Good Lovin'" is one of those blistering versions! "Dark Star > St. Stephen > NFA > Lovelight" is all incredible, and push this show over the edge. By the way, be sure to check out a nice "Mama Tried" during the NRPS set with Bobby sitting in.

  • 5/15/77 St. Louis Arena, St. Louis, MO - Officially released on May 1977. A very nice, if somewhat "laid back" performance but full of typically strong May 1977 playing. Highlights include "Bertha > Good Lovin'", and a 17 minute "Dancin'" which is a Jam Anthem version for obvious reasons. First performance of "Passenger" is very nice. The second set kicks off with a jammed out "Estimated" which segues into a beautifully jammed "Eyes", then a "Drums" segment and a ripping "Samson". "Eyes" is a Jam Anthem version and definitely deserves that designation! We also get the first performance of "Iko Iko" after "St. Stephen" and it's a slower, laid back version without the "boppy" fun feel that it would develop in later years.


May 16th - RIP Larry "Ramrod" Schurtliff (2006)

  • 5/16/72 Theatre Hall, Luxembourg - Officially released on Europe '72 The Complete Recordings. Typical of the tour, there isn't a single bad or off moment. Strong, consistent performances of every song. Maybe it doesn't contain Mt. Everest peaks found in some of the other shows on this tour, but it will still take you to incredible heights. Highs include a scorching "China Cat > I Know You Rider", "Playing", "Truckin' > Drums > Other One", "Sing Me Back Home".

  • 5/16/81 Barton Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY - While not as popular as the "other" Barton Hall show, this is an incredible performance! Officially released on 30 Trips Around The Sun. This is a really fun, energetic show with some truly funky moments, including one of the funkiest "Stranger" and "Shakedown Street" performances you'll ever hear. I've often wondered if the Dead had become aware at this point that Cornell '77 was such a highly regarded show, and took the stage there determined to exceed that reputation. They only played this venue 3 times (this would be the final time), and each one is outstanding. I don't think anyone would put either the 1980 or this performance above 1977, but they seem to be determined to impress the audience each time! Highlights include "Stranger", "Passenger", "High Time > Let It Grow", "Shakedown Street", "Spanish Jam", and "Uncle John's Band" encore.


May 17th

  • 5/17/74 P.N.E Coliseum, Vancouver, Canada - Officially released on Pacific Northwest '73-'74: The Complete Recordings. This show didn't circulate until June of 2000, and was always one of the more obscure tapes for a long time. Overall it's an excellent performance. First set highlights include "Ramble On Rose", "Loose Lucy", "Big River" "Roses", and an incredible "Playing" (23 minutes!). Second set highlights include a rockin' "U.S. Blues" opener, a very fine "Ship Of Fools", a scorching "China Cat > I Know You Rider", and the big jam section "Truckin' > Nobody's Fault But Mine > Eyes > China Doll".

  • 5/17/77 Memorial Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, AL - Officially released on May 1977. This show is a perfect example of what makes this tour so incredible. Night after night the band rides a wave of musical inspiration and skill, at a level of consistency that very few bands were ever capable of. As such, there isn't a single bad moment here. Highlights are a scorching "Half Step" and one of the most inspired "Scarlet > Fire" performance you'll ever hear. Both of those songs just so happen to be Jam Anthem versions. Not surprised! Second set highlights include "Samson > Bertha > Good Lovin'" and "Terrapin > Playing > Drums > Wharf Rat > Playing".


May 18th

  • 5/18/72 Kongressaal Deutsches Museum, München, Germany - Officially released on Europe '72 The Complete Recordings. They open with a rowdy "Truckin'" and a perfect "Sugaree" follows. The rest of the set is typical songs of the tour, all flawlessly executed but shorter and more "by the book" than other shows of the tour. Still excellent material though, don't get me wrong. Prime examples are the "Playing" and "Good Lovin'" here. Both are on the shorter side compared to other nights. The second set has most of the highlights. An unusual but really fine "Sitting On Top Of The World > Me & My Uncle" kick off set 2. "Dark Star > Morning Dew" is a highlight, as is "Sing Me Back Home".

  • 5/18/77 Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA - The first of two nights at the Fox Theatre. The band is in sync and they play well, but the song selection is just unusual. They open the show with a rare "Deal" (first of only 2 times) which gets the crowd going, followed by a nice "Cassidy" and then a unique "Jack-A-Roe". The pace of this set is just slower, that's all. The "Music Never Stopped" set closer is a real banger, however. It features very brisk, lively playing and is a Jam Anthem version. Other highlights include "Estimated > Eyes > Drums > Other One > Stella Blue" segment. The jam after "Eyes" is standout, as well as "Other One" which is a Jam Anthem version.


May 19th

  • 5/19/74 Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR - Officially released on Pacific Northwest '73-'74: The Complete Recordings. This entire show is incredible Wall of Sound magic! The band is totally confident in their delivery of every song, and they do so with finesse and passion. The true artistry of what they're capable of shines through brightly on this performance. First set highlights include a superb "Half Step" opener, followed by a rousing "Mexicali" and then a high energy "Big Railroad Blues". A banging "Beat It On Down The Line" comes later. A magnificent "China Cat > I Know You Rider" with a ripping jam closes the set. Second set highlights are "Bertha > Greatest Story" (which is a Jam Anthem version) and "Truckin' (Jam Anthem version) > Mind Left Body Jam > NFA > GDTRFB > Saturday Night.

  • 5/19/77 Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA - The second night of the 2-night run and probably the more popular one give it was released on Dick's Picks Volume 29. Another incredible, flawless performance from May 1977. This one features some fantastic playing and song selection. First set highlights include "Sugaree" (a 16+ minute Jam Anthem monster version!), "Row Jimmy" and "Dancin'" to close the set. Set 2 highlights include "Terrapin > Playing > Uncle John's Band (Jam Anthem version) > Drums > Wheel > China Doll > Playing". No encore this night, but they gave it everything they had so it's not really a big deal.


BTW, If you're not yet familiar with Jam Anthem versions of songs you can read all about it in Deadology II by Howard Weiner. Check it out here along with all his other great books.

And that's all for now! Of course, if you want to follow along in your very own copy of my book On This Day In Grateful Dead History: A Daily Listening Journal I still have some copies available here. Once they're sold out, I will have to decide whether or not I'm going to have more made. The costs of printing and shipping have gone way up in the last few years since I had them printed so I'm not sure if it's worth it or not. So get one now while you can!

Peace out my good people. Until next week!

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