Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Dead 10-17-1983 Let's go to the lake...

Well it was a tough soccer weekend for the US and England for that matter, as both were eliminated, and while there should be instant replay on questionable goals, neither team can complain too much about the outcome's as neither looked all that sharp.  Well what is needed on this Monday is some soothing music, and a look to happy USA sporting events wouldn't hurt, so lets combine the two. We venture north today to the location of perhaps the USA's most iconic national sporting moment, Lake Placid:

This is the first time I am dipping into 1983, maybe the only, so I am doing so with a bang.  While it wasn't a career year for the band I do think this is the best show the boys played during '83 and is certainly worth your time.  Lean back as we present 10-17-1983, click that link or stream the full show right c'here:

Playing in a epic venue the boys took to the stage 3 years after the USA Men's Hockey team stunned the world with it's Miracle on Ice and beat the mighty Russians.  
This recording is almost perfect with up front vocals clear playing and pumping low-end.  Really a great job done by all who contributed to the sprucing up of the recording, there are no faults to be found.  The Dead waste absolutely ZERO time in getting into some epic territory.  The highlight of this whole show is the opening enchantment of "Sugaree".  At almost 17 minutes it comes and sticks around awhile, and while other great versions of the song seem to lazily swirl along, this one finds Garcia inventive on the axe, squirreling in multiple notes and taking the song into uncharted waters.  This is a version all fans and non fans alike should get down with.     

Bobby is playing some piercing slide on "Little Red Rooster" screaming out from your speakers, before the second highlight of the night strolls out with fantastic live rendition of "Friend of the Devil".  Easily one of the Grateful Dead's most iconic tunes, but also one of the rare examples of their studio work outshining their live performance, as rarely has a version come close to the American Beauty original recording. "FotD" usually is a bit underwhelming when the boys tackled it on stage, but during Brent's era with the band their are some standout versions, and this is one of them.  With it's easy opening that sounds like a different tune, followed by the excellent vocals and Brent's twinkling, almost harpsichord solo before Jerry's ranging runs, it is a version worth absorbing.      

The rare "My Brother Esau" which debuted earlier in the year shows up and Bobby makes it through while "Shadowboxing with the Apocalypse".  "Birdsong" then flutters in on Brent's twinkling ivories, Garcia's wandering lines and some well timed popping from Phil.  This version is a bit sped up but not too quick and does stick around a bit, really some excellent playing.  A tight and quick "Hell in a Bucket" is paired with an aggressive "Deal" to close out an exceptionally great first set that has some real high spots, and 3 contenders for "best ever" conversations with the "Sugaree" "Friend of the Devil" and "Birdsong" all thanks to this guy:
 The second set starts off with "Touch of Grey" which is a year and a month old, and would surprisingly rocket up the charts in just 5 short years...such a strange history with this tune which I will get into more during another post, but this is a fun version that strums along at a brisk pace and while Jerry's voice maybe a bit out of sorts, it is a fun ride.  Next is an explosive "Samson and Delilah" which would have melted the ice that the American Boys played on 3 years earlier.  Really cooking with fire from the Bay Area band here and then they go and do a mini bust out of "To Lay Me Down" which hadn't been played in over 2 years.  While I do love this song and this version is pristine, I think it's placement is a bit off and would have worked better if the band waited until post "Drums>Space" slot for this ballad.  

"Man Smart Woman Smarter" gets the energy ramped back up and Jerry again is blazing hot before the monster known as "Terrapin Station" rumbles out.  "Terrapin" has always been a favorite of mine, while I know other fans are upset because versions are the same show to show, I think it is a grand and beautiful song that was played sparingly enough that it remained a special treat when busted out.  Jerry here and there messes up some lyrics, but it is still a fine version, I particularly like Brent's tone and playing on this one.

This winner of a show contains my favorite way that the band commonly came out of "Space" with "The Wheel".  The early strains can be picked up from any of the spacey voyages the band was on, and it acts in uniting the crowd and band as one exhilarating force.
Heads who were in attendance all commented on the human wheel that was circling around the venue when this was played, and it is a wonderful version, I love the riffs Garcia plays with starting around the 6 minute mark which bleed into "I Need A Miracle".  Bobby leads the boys through a mega "Miracle" here firing hard and blues heavy, in fact it feels like they want to stay in the blues vein before abruptly switching towards their old Folky ways via "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad".  Brent again shines this time on an organ, and the mood is livened before the set closing "Good Lovin'" which finds Bobby speaking his mind and the encore of "Revolution" as an ode to The Beatles:

Enjoy the best show of 1983, a truly Gold Medal worthy performance.


  1. Wow its really an interesting article to read it but it was somewhat fearfull to. Thanks for bringing this old precious event in this busy work.

  2. Nice review, I was there & it was a fantastic night & fantastic show