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This Week In Grateful Dead History #22 (Week of 6/24)

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!

There's a lot of shows to pick from when it comes to summer dates. This week there were no less than 31 shows for me to review in this newsletter! The Dead were almost always on tour for these dates making for a huge catalog of shows to pick from. You probably won't have enough time to listen to all of these "best of the best" selections, but one thing I like to do is save some of these dates for times when there aren't any available shows to listen to, or when I've already listened to the daily selection a bunch of times and I'm looking for something new. I have to keep it short on the details and descriptions again this week due to the sheer volume of shows to talk about, but here's the highlights for Issue 22, for the week of June 24th, 2024:

  • First "Big RxR Blues", "Gentlemen Start Your Engines"

  • Final "To Lay Me Down"


June 24th

  • 6/24/70 Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY - Early and Late shows. I wish someone would compile a complete source out of all the circulating sources because they're so fractured. But I'll tell you what sources to go to in order to hear as much as possible from this historic show. By the way, there are some mislabeled tapes of 7/10/70 that say they're from this show, but are not. Before we get too far, I want to point out that the setlist in the book for the Late acoustic show requires an update. It's missing "Monkey & Engineer", "The Rub", "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" after "Deep Elem". There aren't any soundboard recordings of these shows that circulate but Ken and Judy Lee's "Port Chester Resurrection Project" tapes are the most complete (SHNID 23062), and are very listenable in my opinion, and they even include the NRPS set. "Thank a Taper", indeed! To hear the Early show electric set check out SHNID 124175, which I think sounds the best. The only other available option is SHNID 32710 but I think it sounds muddier. To hear the Late show acoustic set check out SHNID 145261. Now that we have listening choices out of the way, highlights for the early show are the entire acoustic set and "Casey Jones", "Black Peter" and "Other One > Cosmic Charlie". The Late show is what this date is mostly known for. Highlights are the first performance of "Big RxR Blues" (a unique acoustic version with Pigpen on the harmonica. It's probably my favorite version because it sounds so different), "Deep Elem", "Friend Of The Devil", "Candyman" "Cumberland". The entire electric set is incredible, high energy and perfectly played. My favorite segment is the "Dark Star" through the end. You have to check it out! These are incredible shows and I hope the Vault tapes, if there are any, will surface some day.

  • 6/24/73 Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR - Officially released on Pacific Northwest '73-'74: The Complete Recordings. First set is a scorcher all the way, but highlights include "Box Of Rain", "Big RxR Blues", "Beat It On Down The Line", "China Cat > I Know You Rider", and "Around & Around". Set 2 highlights include a very powerful "Greatest Story > Bertha" combo and "Dark Star > Eyes > China Doll".

  • 6/24/76 The Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, PA - A somewhat overlooked show, but excellent nonetheless. The 3rd of 4 shows at The Tower Theatre. First set highlights: "Cold Rain & Snow", "Big River", "Lazy Lightning > Supplication". The entire second set is excellent, but my favorite segments are "Help > Slipknot! > Franklin's Tower", and "Wharf Rat > Dancin'".

  • 6/24/83 Dane County Coliseum, Madison, WI - This was the smallest venue of the '83 tour, and maybe the intimacy made for such an incredible show. The entire first set is strong but the highlights are "Shakedown Street" (Jam Anthem version) and "Brown Eyed Women". The whole second set is a scorcher. Highlights are "Help > Slipknot! > Franklin's Tower", "Saint of Circumstance > Mind Left Body Jam", and "Morning Dew" (Jam Anthem version).

  • 6/24/85 River Bend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH - Officially released on 30 Trips Around The Sun. An overall excellent show, with above average first set but the second set is incredible. First set highlights: "Alabama Getaway > Greatest Story", "Minglewood" ("bluegrass fillies"), probably the penultimate version of "Brother Esau", "Loser", "Let It Grow". Crazy good performance! The entire second set is a scorcher but my favorite segments are "Iko > Samson" and the rare '85 "Cryptical > Drums > Space > Comes A Time > Other One > Cryptical".

  • 6/24/90 Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR - A banger of a show. First set highlights are "Help > Slipknot! > Franklin's, "Masterpiece", "Loose Lucy", "Let It Grow". The second set pre-D/S includes 6 songs solid songs. Highlights for the second set include "Foolish Heart", "Box Of Rain", "Estimated > He's Gone" and "Other One".


June 25th

  • 6/25/78 Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR - This was the band's first performance at the large stadium where the University of Oregon football team plays. This was also the first return to Eugene following their incredible performance at MacArthur Court on 1/22/78. This show is also very good and first set highlights include "Promised Land", "Passenger", and "Peggy-O". Second set highlights are "Samson", "Estimated > Eyes", "Drums > Space" (with Ken Babbs Thunder Machine), "NFA > GDTRFB > Around".

  • 6/25/83 St. Paul Civic Center, St. Paul, MN - A hot show with many great moments. 1st set highlights: a nicely jammed "Cassidy", a frolicking "Big RxR Blues", a scorching "Lazy Lightning > Supplication > Might As Well". 2nd set highlights: "Samson", "Ship Of Fools", an standout "Women Are Smarter" (maybe my favorite version, IDK) and a romping "GDTRFB". I like SHNID 142363, the Holbrook 24-bit recording.

  • 6/25/85 Blossom Music Center, Hebron, OH - Blossom is my local premier outdoor venue that's located in the immediate vicinity of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Unfortunately I never got to see the Grateful Dead perform here, but I have been fortunate to see about 20-ish other shows here, and the sound is always great. This show is standout for the song selection and the performance. They open set 1 with a high energy "Day Tripper (only time they ever opened with it) > West LA Fadeaway > CC Rider". Other highlights include "Big RxR Blues", and a scorching "Lazy Lightning > Supplication (with a great jam) > Might As Well" to close the set. Set 2 highlights are "Gimme Some Lovin'", "Playing > Drums > Space > Wheel > Playing > China Doll > Sugar Magnolia (Jam Anthem version).


June 26th

  • 6/26/73 Seattle Center Arena, Seattle, WA - Officially released on Pacific Northwest '73-'74: The Complete Recordings. This entire show is excellent. Set 1 highlights: "Casey Jones > Greatest Story", "Mexicali Blues", "Row Jimmy", "China Cat > I Know You Rider", "Playing". Set 2 highlights: "They Love Each Other", "He's Gone" through the end.

  • 6/26/74 Providence Civic Center, Providence, RI - Partially officially released on Dick's Picks Volume 12. This is a long, epic show. The first set is 15 songs! 1st set highlights include "Scarlet Begonias", "Weather Report Suite > Let It Grow > Roses". Set 2 highlights: "Jam > China Cat > I Know You Rider" (Jam Anthem version), "Truckin' > Other One Jam > Spanish Jam (Jam Anthem version) > Wharf Rat > Sugar Magnolia" and an incredible "Eyes" encore. They only encored with "Eyes" 3 times, and this was the second time.

  • 6/26/76 Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL - 1st of a 4 show run at the Auditorium Theatre. Probably the weakest of the 4, but still plenty of great music to make it on the list. Set 1 highlights: "Mama Tried", "Lazy Lightning > Supplication", "Peggy-O". Set 2 highlights: "Playing > St. Stephen > Wheel > Playing" followed by a gorgeous "Crazy Fingers > Stella Blue".

  • 6/26/87 Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI - This is a crackling, high-energy show. Set 1 highlights include "Stranger > Franklin's Tower" opener, "Walking Blues", a beautiful "Cassidy" and a scorching "Deal" set closer. Set 2 highlights are "China Cat > I Know You Rider", "Estimated > Eyes", "Watchtower" and "Sugar Magnolia" to close the set.

  • 6/26/88 Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, PA - A lively, well played show throughout. The band is "on" from the opening "Half Step > Rooster". Bobby's country melody of "Mama Tried > Big River" is superb and flows into a "Cumberland Blues" that's so hot it boils over. Then you get the first performance of Brent's tune "Gentlemen Start Your Engines". Set 2 starts off a little flat, but hits a stride, then a peak with "Playing > Uncle John's Band > Playing".


June 27th

  • 6/27/76 Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL - This was the 2nd of a 4 show run at the Auditorium Theatre. Here we have a fine show that kicks off with a gratifying "Cold Rain & Snow", a song that when opened a show was usually a good predictor of good things to come. Other first set highlights include "Big River", "Lazy Lightning > Supplication", "Looks Like Rain" and a rousing, set-closing "Might As Well". The entire second set is superb and opens with a crisp "Let It Grow > Drums > Let It Grow". Fresh from a set break, they really put their all into it, which has some excellent jamming and then lands on a fine "Wharf Rat". After that, comes the big highlight to me, a long, jammed-out, spacey "Help > Slipknot! > Franklin's". which is one of my all-time favorite versions.

  • 6/27/83 Poplar Creek Music Theatre, Hoffman Estates, IL - The 1st of a 2 show run at this venue. This show and the next night were the only time the band ever played in this venue that holds about 25,000. It was a nice outdoor venue in the suburbs of Chicago, but would close in 1994. This show crackles with energy and enthusiastic playing throughout. Set 1 highlights include "Bertha > Promised Land" opener, a nicely jammed "Bird Song", a snappy "Cold Rain & Snow" which flows straight into the 7th performance of "Bucket", which takes a minute to develop and has an odd feel to it, like it's just not fully developed but I have to commend them for making the most of every minute and not pausing between every song. They roll straight into a hot "Sugaree" with Jerry fumbling the first verse but quickly recovers it to closes out the set. The second set highlight is the monster "Scarlet > Fire" that opens the set. It's definitely the peak moment of the second set, all of which is very good but never reaching the peak of that opening sequence.


June 28th

  • 6/28/74 Boston Garden, Boston, MA - Partially officially released on Dick's Picks Volume 12. This is a monster of a show that peaks during the second set. The first set is all fine (it is '74 Wall of Sound after all) but average for the time. That said, I do thing the "Half Step" opener is nice. They seem to then blast through "Roses", "Jack Straw" and "Beat It On Down The Line" and pretty much every other first set song as if they're competing in the 100 yard dash at a track meet. It's all executed well, it just feels rushed. After the "Seastones" set, the second set opens with a great performance of "Sugar Magnolia" in which they slide into "Scarlet Begonias" at the break point to initiate this "Sugar Magnolia - Sunshine Daydream sandwich set. A really nice "To Lay Me Down" comes later, followed by a superb "Weather Report Suite > Let It Grow > Mind Left Body Jam > U.S. Blues. A scorching "GDTRFB > Sunshine Daydream" provides the closing side of this delicious sandwich.

  • 6/28/76 Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL - 3rd of a 4 show run at the Auditorium Theatre. This infamous show was a truly unique and magical experience for anyone who was lucky enough to attend. The fist set is all very good and the highlights are "Promised Land", "High Time" and "Music Never Stopped". The magic happens during the second set however. The whole set is incredible, opening up with a funky, fast "Eyes" that transitions into a funky "Jam" led by Phil and the drummers. For a moment it almost seems like Phil is trying to lead us into "Dancin'" but that is abandoned in favor of just the drums. After a while the only performance of "Happiness Is Drumming", the precursor to "Fire On The Mountain" emerges and you get a beautiful, flowing jam that must have been incredible to hear. "Fire On The Mountain" would be performed for the first time in about 9 months from this show, so what a unique experience this would have been!

  • 6/28/79 Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento, CA - This is a really fun show that I don't think is very well known and that's a shame. There are only 2 knowns sources circulating for this date. The first set is only available as an audience recording, albeit a nice one (SHNID 11159). SHNID 19514 provides the soundboard of the second set. A rare "Don't Ease" opener (7 of only 9 times) kicks off the party. I personally like that song choice as a show opener. The rest of the first set is good but average. "The Music Never Stopped" set closer is a smoker, however. The entire 2nd set is a gem but the highlights for me are "Scarlet > Fire", "Playing > Eyes".

  • 6/28/83 Poplar Creek Music Theatre, Hoffman Estates, IL - The 2nd of a 2 show run at this venue. This would be the last time the band would ever play here. I like SHNID 119579 for the first set and SHNID 146188 for the second set. Those two sources for those respective sets have the most presence and balanced sound to my ears/system but there are lots of available sources so I guess just find the one you like the most. 1st set highlights are "Stranger", "Looks Like Rain > Deal". 2nd set highlights are a warp-speed "Help > Slipknot! > Franklin's" that has to be one of the fastest ones I've ever heard but is expertly crafted, a scorching "NFA" and a fun and unusual "Iko" encore (2nd of only 5 times played as an encore).

  • 6/28/85 Hershey Park Stadium, Hershey, PA - This concert took place inside the Hershey amusement park and is a sweet treat, for sure. A raunchy "Cold Rain & Snow" kicks off this high-energy first set. Other highlights are "I Ain't Superstitious > Down In The Bottom", and an empic "Bird Song > Comes A Time > Deal" to close it. 2nd set highlights are a rare (5th of only 5 times) "Music Never Stopped" to open, which segues right into an excellent "Tom Thumb's Blues", "Terrapin", and a majestic "Morning Dew".

  • 6/28/92 Deer Creek Music Center, Noblesville, IN - A great show that's full of epic moments. You can't go wrong with a show that opens with a stellar "Help > Slipknot! > Franklin's Tower". Other first set highlights are the final performance of "To Lay Me Down" (and it's a beauty), a rare "El Paso" and a unique "New Speedway > Smokestack Lightning" to close the set. That was the 3rd of only 3 times that "Smokestack" closed the first set. Set 2 highlights are "China Cat > I Know You Rider > Estimated", "Last Time" out of "Space" and "Casey Jones" encore.


June 29th

  • 6/29/73 Universal Amphitheatre, Universal City, CA - 1st of 3 night run at the Universal Amphitheater. Only a portion of this show circulates and it looks like there is only 1 known tape, SHNID 11617. But what's there is still almost 2 hours in length despite missing almost the whole first set and is pretty good. Highlights include an epic "Playing" to close set 1 and "Other One > Morning Dew" from the second set.

  • 6/29/76 Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL - 4th of a 4 show run at the Auditorium Theatre. 1st set highlights include the final Grateful Dead performance of "Mission In The Rain", "Looks Like Rain", "Lazy Lightning > Supplication". Second set highlights are "Playing > Drums > Wheel > Playing", "St. Stephen > NFA > St. Stephen".

  • 6/29/80 Pauley Pavilion, UC, Los Angeles, CA - The night Bobby was arrested after the show for obstructing an officer as the authorities were arresting the promoter's wife on drug charges. The story goes that Bobby didn't like the way they were treating her, and he must have said the wrong thing.

  • 6/29/84 Blossom Music Centre, Cuyahoga Falls, OH - More fabulous music from my favorite venue. This show is a smoker! Only SHNID 14682 and 11502 are complete. You can get set 2 soundboard from SHNID 32781. Set 1 highlights are "Bertha > Greatest Story", "CC Rider > Bird Song", "West L.A. Fadeaway", "Don't Ease". 2nd set highlights are "Scarlet > Touch > Mr. Fantasy > Women Are Smarter".

  • 6/29/86 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI - a blazing hot show from start to finish. 1st set highlights are "Half Step > Franklin's > Dancin'", "Tom Thumb's Blues", "Stagger Lee", "Samson" (3rd of only 3 times to close set 1). 2nd set highlights are "Skakedown", "Estimated > Eyes".


June 30th

  • 6/30/73 Universal Amphitheatre, Universal City, CA - 2nd of 3 night run at the Amphitheatre, and unlike the first night this whole show circulates. The second set is where the magic happens but the first set highlights are a nice, extended "Bird Song", a rousing "Cumberland Blues", a fat "Row Jimmy", and a massive 14+ minute "Playing" to close the set. Set 2 highlights are "Dark Star > Eyes > Stella Blue", and "Sugar Magnolia". "Eyes" in particular is spectacular and they apply several different themes during the jamming.

  • 6/30/74 Springfield Civic Center, Springfield, MA - An epic Wall of Sound show, to be sure. 1st set highlights are "Jack Straw", "Loser", "Greatest Story", "Cumberland Blues", and an epic "Playing > Uncle John's > Playing" sammich to close the set. 2nd set highlights are "Truckin' > Nobody's Fault Jam > Eyes" and a ripping "NFA > GDTRFB".

  • 6/30/84 Indianapolis Sports and Music Center, Indianapolis, IN - a phenomenal show with 1st set highlights that include "Minglewood", "Dupree's Diamond Blues" and an epic "Sailor > Saint > Deal (Jam Anthem version)" to close the set. The entire second set is one massive highlight but I wanted to point out the "Shakedown" opener is outstanding and is a Jam Anthem version.

  • 6/30/85 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD - This is a scorcher of a show! 1st set highlights are "Half Step > CC Rider > Brown-Eyed Women" opener, and the "Keep On Growing" Clapton cover. 2nd set highlights are "Shakedown (Jam Anthem version) > Samson", "Gimme Some Lovin' > He's Gone > Cryptical" and "Other One > Stella Blue".


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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