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This Week In Grateful Dead History #19 (Week of 6/3)

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 for Issue 19, for the week of June 3rd, 2024. We have a LOT of outstanding music along with some big first performances, including:

  • First "Might as Well", "Lazy Lightning > Supplication", "Samson & Delilah", "Wheel", "Mission in the Rain", "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", "Sugar Magnolia"


June 3rd

  • 6/3/76 Paramount Theatre, Portland, OR - First of two shows at the Paramount Theatre and this is the fist show after the highly anticipated return of the band after their year-and-a-half touring hiatus. The Wall of Sound had proved to be too much for the band both financially and physically in 1974, so they mostly took the end of 1974, all of 1975 and half of 1976 off (except for a handful of public performances) to write new music, record and release Blues for Allah which was the most complex music they had ever written. The common opinion about June 1976 is that the band is finding their footing again in a lot of ways. Mickey Hart is being re-introduced into the band full time, and they were introducing complicated and demanding new music after a long break in touring. So there are some "ups and downs" on this show, to be sure. Nine of the songs performed were only played once or twice before, so they were being a little reserved. That said, this is a strong show overall and highlights include the first performance of "Might as Well", "Cassidy", "They Love Each Other", first performance of "Lazy Lightning > Supplication", "Scarlet Begonias", "Dancin'", first performance of "Samson", "Help > Slipknot! > Franklin's" and the first performance of "The Wheel".


June 4th

  • 6/4/70 Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA - The first of 4 shows at the Fillmore West. This is such an interesting period for the band that finds them straddling the original "primal Dead" period and exploring new musical genres, writing new songs and really improving their craft (playing and singing). One of their most iconic albums - Workingman's Dead would be released in 10 days from this show on June 14th, and you can really hear how much the band has honed their skills. Weir's playing and Jerry singing in particular shine on this recording. This is a very nice acoustic - electric set format show with David Nelson and John Dawson on a few songs. I like SHNID 123799 which is a matrix version. Acoustic set highlights include "Deep Elem", "Candyman", "Black Peter", "Cumberland Blues", "Wake Up Little Suzie", "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" (a nice up-tempo version). Electric set highlights include "St. Stephen > NFA > Midnight Hour". "Midnight Hour" includes some interesting jamming and teases of "St. Stephen" and "China Cat". "Baby Blue" is a great slow, bluesy, mellow version that's one of my favorite versions.

  • 6/4/76 Paramount Theatre, Portland, OR - The second of 2 nights. The band is tight and in sync for their second show. Highlights include "Friend of the Devil", "Candyman", a short but tight "Lazy Lightning > Supplication", first performance of "Mission in the Rain", "Help > Slipknot! > Franklins". "Slipknot!" is a 11+ minute monster, and they explore some unique themes. These early versions are impressive because they're open to exploration instead of sticking to the "recipe" like in so many later versions. Second set highlights include a 16+ minute nicely jammed "Playing" with a short but obvious "Dancin'" tease, but doesn't come to fruition. Other highlights include the return of "Cosmic Charlie" (289 shows, first one since 1/21/71!) which segues nicely into a strong "Let It Grow > Drums" and then a beautiful "Stella Blue". After the earlier tease, they decide to go ahead and play "Dancin'".

  • 6/4/77 The Forum, Inglewood, CA - An outstanding show that rivals everything from May, 1977. This one kind of lives in the shadows of the rest of June, 1977 because it only audience recordings circulate, but look for MOTB.0096 which is a nice FOB and comes in both 16-bit and 24-bit transfers of the master tape. First set highlights include "Tennessee Jed", "El Paso", Lazy Lightning > Supplication", "Candyman", "Music Never Stopped" and pretty much the entire second set is a highlight for this show.

  • 6/4/78 Campus Stadium, UC Santa Barbara, CA - One of my personal favorites! An excellent, high-energy show that's definitely worth your time. Highlights include a ripping "Bertha > Good Lovin'", "Me & My Uncle (with a comical "Uncle Bobo" lyric substitution) > Big River", Estimated > Eyes > Drums > Space (which is more "Jam" than "Space" and according to some reviews includes some unidentified guest, but definitely includes motorcycle engine revving, which ends up in time to the "NFA" beat once they make it obvious that's where things are headed - quite fun!) > NFA (Probably one of the hottest "NFA" versions of '78) > Nobody's Fault Jam (166 show breakout) > NFA (I hear Weir do one phrase of "Nobody's Fault Jam" on slide at the end, right before "GDTRFB") > GDTRFB > Around". "Around" features a comical moment when Bob does his signature stuttering of the words and Donna says "Spit it out Bob!" Great stuff, they absolutely rock the end out hard, and this is one of my all-time favorite performances of this song. The party doesn't stop because they give the audience a ripping "U.S. Blues" and "Sugar Magnolia" double encore. I like the Betty Board mix recording (SHNID 94407).


June 5th

  • 6/5/69 - Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA - A very nice show that finally circulated complete in 2016. Highlights include a powerful "Other One", and the second set "China Cat > Sitting On Top Of The World > Dark Star > St. Stephen > The Eleven > Lovelight".

  • 6/5/70 Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA - Show 2 of 4. Highlights include "I Know You Rider", "Silver Threads", "Me & My Uncle", "New Speedway Boogie", "Other One > Attics", "Man's World", "Uncle John's Band", "St. Stephen > Casey Jones".

  • 6/5/80 Compton Terrace Amphitheater, Tempe, AZ - Overall a very good show with most of it falling into the "above average" category of performing. The fist set only circulates a audience but I like the Bob Morris FOB (SHNID 106616 which is a 24-bit source). First set highlights include a hot "Alabama Getaway > Promised Land" opener, "They Love Each Other", "Althea", "Stranger". Second Set highlights include "China Cat > I Know You Rider", "Terrapin" with a nice spacey jam into "Drums", "Truckin'" out of "Space".


June 6th

  • 6/6/70 Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA - Show 3 of 4 and the same acoustic-electric format as the other shows. They come out with a strong "Don't Ease", followed by the first performance (tease, really) of "The Frozen Logger" which I personally don't care for at all. Weir pulls this out as a way to entertain the crowd as Jerry changes a broken string. His voice is stretched and cracks as he tries to sing the song, and abandons it after the first verse thankfully! After a long delay, Jerry gets his string changed and they play a strong "Friend of the Devil". A nice "Candyman" is up next. Those are the only acoustic set songs you'll be able to hear which circulate on SHNID 132157. Hopefully the rest of the set will show up some day. Second set highlights include "Casey Jones", an outstanding classic early arrangement of "Dancin'" with a "Tighten Up Jam", a really nice (and rare) "Good Lovin' > New Orleans > Good Lovin'" (something I wish they would have done more of), and "Alligator > Drums > Jam > Darkness Jam > Lovelight > NFA > Lovelight".


June 7th

  • 6/7/69 Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA - One of the best shows of 1969! Musically, you'll find some very unique arrangements here. Notably the "Dire Wolf", which is more "raw". "Saint Stephen" arrangement includes the acapella verse with only a xylophone accompaniment which was a nice touch. "Doing That Rag" also features a unique arrangement with bright strumming with rhythmic guitar emphasis that I've never heard on any other version. All the songs are played very well and This entire tape is excellent, especially "Dark Star > St. Stephen > The Elven > Sitting On Top Of The World > Cold Rain & Snow > Doing That Rag". "Lovelight" is also outstanding, with special guest Janis Joplin and stretches over 20 minutes to close it out!9

  • 6/7/70 Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA - show 4 of 4 and following the same acoustic set - electric set format as the other shows. In some ways this is just an odd show with a bunch of goofing around. The acoustic set highlights include a strong "Don't Ease", "Silver Threads", "Friend of the Devil", and then "Cold Jordan", "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" both featuring David Nelson and John Dawson. A strong "New Speedway Boogie" closes the set. The second set starts off with a nice "Cryptical > Other One > Cryptical > Drums > Main Ten". After that, they transition oddly into the first performance of "Sugar Magnolia". But unfortunately this is one of the roughest, slowest versions of the song you'll ever hear.

  • 6/7/77 Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA - Officially released on Winterland June 1977: The Complete Recordings. The first of 3 shows at the Winterland. An outstanding show, despite some "technical difficulties" with the gear. Oh well, they power through it. First set highlights are "Looks Like Rain", "Peggy-O", "Friend of the Devil", "Music Never Stopped". Second set highlights are "Scarlet > Fire > Good Lovin'", "Estimated > He's Gone", "Samson" (Jam Anthem version), "Terrapin > Morning Dew (Jam Anthem version) > Around & Around". After that you get an incredible "Uncle John's Band" and "U.S. Blues" double encore.


June 8th

  • 6/8/69 Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA - an excellent, high energy show. Highlights are "Dancin' > He Was A Friend of Mine > China Cat > New Potato Caboose". The second set kicks off with a familiar song - "Lovelight", but doesn't have the traditional lineup. Wayne Ceballos sings and plays guitar on this 34+ minute monster version. Then there's two songs with Elvin Bishop songs - "The Things I Used To Do" and "Who's Lovin' You Tonight" (Pigpen sings along with Elvin). A fine "Other One > Cosmic Charlie" closes it out.

  • 6/8/74 Oakland Coliseum Stadium, Oakland, CA - Day on the Green #1, the home of the Oakland A's baseball team and the first time the Dead played there. You can read more about these Day on the Green concerts in Corry Arnold's excellent Lost Live Dead blog here: Keith really shines on this show. His playing seems to extra inspired. Highlights of the first set include "Promised Land', "Brown Eyed Women", "Scarlet Begonias", "Greatest Story", "China Cat > I Know You Rider". Second set highlights include an outstanding "Playing > Wharf Rat > Playing", a rare standalone "Eyes" but has plenty of jamming to go with it, and includes the "King Solomon's Marbles" segment which is always a nice treat. It sounds like they want to segue somewhere (China Doll?) but it just doesn't materialize because the guitars are out of tune so they have to stop.

  • 6/8/77 Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA - The second of 3 shows at the Winterland, released on Winterland June 1977: Complete Recordings. The first set has several nice highlights, including an outstanding 16+ minute "Sugaree", "Jack-A-Roe", "Lazy Lightning > Supplication" (Jam Anthem version). The second set highlights are a stunning "Ramble On Rose", "Estimated > Eyes > Drums > Other One > Wharf Rat > NFA > GDTRFB > Johnny B. Goode". "Brokedown Palace" is a beautiful, gentle encore that cools the place off.

  • 6/8/80 Folsom Field, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO - You can't skip a show that opens with "Uncle John's > Playing > Uncle John's Band". No way! It's only available as an audience recording but fortunately there are some very good ones. I like SHNID 155741 for the Phil presence on it. This and the pervious night were kind of billed loosely as the 15 year anniversary shows. 6/7 was an average show in my opinion, but this one is quite different. "Uncle John's > Playing > Uncle John's Band" is the absolute highlight, and the rest of the first set kind of pales in comparison to that, but I also like the mid-set "Samson" and "Althea". "Deal" to close set 1 is pretty hot. Set 2 highlights include "Stranger", "Estimated > Eyes". The post- D/S segment is all very good as well.


June 9th

  • 6/9/73 Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Washington, DC - This entire amazing show was released on Here Comes Sunshine 1973. This whole show has a wonderful "vintage" presence to it, in part because of the chorus or flange effect on Bobby's guitar which I love. While I have the official release, and it sounds amazing this is one of the rare occasions that I prefer one of the circulating sources more. I prefer the Usborne Matrix version (SHNID 131169) because of the overall presence to it. First set highlights include "Deal", "Looks Like Rain", "They Love Each Other", "Jack Straw", "Loose Lucy", "Box of Rain", "Sugaree". Second set highlights include "China Cat > I Know You Rider", "He's Gone > Truckin' > Playin'", "Eyes > China Doll".

  • 6/9/76 Music Hall, Boston, MA - Officially released on Road Trips Volume 4 Number 5. This is an epic show, and the first of 4 nights at The Music Hall. It also represents the triumphant return of the Dead to the east coast in almost 2 years following their year-and-a-half hiatus so the mood was energized in the crowd. The band lays out some heavy jamming, and they bring a highly restructured set list and some great breakouts as we'll see. First set highlights include "Music Never Stopped", "Crazy Fingers" and "Looks Like Rain". But the big surprise is the second set. Opening with the fist "St. Stephen" in 225 shows (last one was 10/31/71 ffs!). It's a Jam Anthem version, and the place goes nuts upon the opening melody. Check out the Hunter Seamons Matrix version to get the full effect. It majestically transitions into a ripping "Eyes" (also a Jam Anthem version). It's one of those up-tempo versions that you can just dance your ass off to. After some nice improv it segues smoothly into a perfect "Let It Grow". "Lazy Lightning > Supplication" are next and are the east coast premiers of the songs. Then another big breakout: "High Time"; the first one in 353 shows! The last time they played it was 7/12/70, and this is a stunningly beautiful version with the addition of Donna's vocal accompaniment. Additional highlights are the east coast premier of the disco arrangement of "Dancin'" followed by a perfect "Wharf Rat". Lastly, they dazzle the audience with the only-time-ever "Franklin's Tower" encore. This is one for the time machine!

  • 6/9/77 Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA - This is the third of the 3 show run, and probably the best of the three. This entire show is outstanding and an absolute joy to listen to. First set highlights include "Half Step", "Cassidy", "Deal", "Loser", and "Music Never Stopped" are all standout versions. The entire second set is a highlight, but the peaks are the jams in "Help > Slipknot! > Franklins" and "Estimated", which is also a Jam Anthem version. "Terrapin Station is magnificent, as is the "Sugar Magnolia" closer. Don't miss the "U.S. Blues and "One More Saturday Night" double encore that absolutely blows the roof off the place.


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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