Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Grateful Dead - 10-31-1983 San Rafeal, CA

 With Halloween now a ghoulish memory we will check out the holiday from the past where the Grateful Dead took to the stage, 10-31-1983, from Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium.  Click that link for the archive, or listen right c'here:

Not much time today so I will get right too it...

This show is known for the last "St. Stephen" the the group would ever play, also being the first time it was played on the west coast in decades.  The version of Stephen is also famous for Dennis McNally author of the excellent Long Strange Trip, proclaiming that this version sucked in an interview:

"The last time I recall the Dead playing St. Stephen was Halloween 1983. They played it for the third time that month. The first time was great, the second was mediocre, and the third was God-awful."
I for one don't think this version is awful by any stretch and love the exploratory jam leading up to it, but that is skipping ahead a bit.  Before those jams and songs we got a few gems sprinkled in, the first set in particular has some excellent versions of "Peggy-O" and a great "Brown Eyed Women",  two first set staples from this time, both get emotional playing and singing from Jerry.

A truly nailed second set, who can argue with such warhorses as "Help>Slip>Frank" to open things up.  A blazing beginning that keeps soaring with "Estimated Prophet" for the Cali crowd and a nuanced "Eyes of The World".

The long drums are a bit drawn out but the Space is intriguing as is the extended jam that finds the group winding their way into the bust out of "St. Stephen" for the last time.  The crowd explodes but this version is a lot more relaxed then the powerful East Coast versions earlier in the year.  Maybe it is the California air that just eases the band into not hurrying things, but the mellow mood has got them with this version.  Ok maybe McNally is right, it's not the best, but it certainly isn't shitty.

A powerful "Throwing Stones">"Not Fade Away" set closer is rocking as is the encore of the Beatles "Revolution", not a full musical costume but it is fun to dress up in that cover song encore.

An added bonus this week, is doing a 30 Days of Dead download giveaway... Check it out as I am sure there are going to be more then a few gems released.  (I plan on collecting the best of the best and posting them here next month, so stayed tuned)

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