For a number of years I've been keeping a Grateful Dead notebook. Eventually, I began writing impressions and capsule reviews of shows I have in my collection. I've adopted the style Dead archivist Dick Latvala used for the sake of organization, but also as a small tribute to the man. This blog will be an online version of that notebook. Feel free to leave comments or to email me. I want this space to be an open forum for all Deadheads.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
1978-10-17 - Winterland
Venue: Winterland - San Francisco, CA
Tape History: SBD (AUD by Reinhart Holwein, download here)
Release History: Two songs in Road Trips Vol. 1, #4 bonus disc (Sept. 2008)
Promised Land, *Friend Of The Devil, Mama Tried -> Mexicali Blues, *TN Jed, I Need A Miracle, Stagger Lee, *Jack Straw
*Scarlet Begonias -> *Fire On The Mountain, *Estimated Prophet -> *Eyes Of The World -> *Drums -> *Space -> *If I Had The World To Give, Around & Around, E: U.S. Blues
01-05-2011: First night of a smokin' five night run at the Winterland, and the Dead's first show back from Egypt. These shows were billed as the "From Egypt With Love" shows. Word on the street is that there were pictures from the trip projected onto a screen behind the band as they played these shows. The only reason I'm posting this review before others from the stand is only because it's the first show. Otherwise I would have gone for the much superior 10-21 or 10-22 gigs. But take a look at that second set! Wow.
Before I completely get ahead of myself, let's take a short stop in the first set, even though it's not something exactly to write home about. Keith takes a turn in "FOTD" without sounding spent and bored, which is saying a lot for his musicianship in this era. Jerry's solo is phenomenal. His mastery of melodic phrasing is ever evident, and his signature tone is displayed in absolute glory. I love this cut. Things look unevenly formed for most of this set though, even when the band destroys "Jack Straw" as a set closer (?!). The second set, in contrast, is burning for its entirety. The segue between "Scarlet" and "Fire" is naturally arrived-at with Jerry leading the way and Phil following close behind with his high-register theme. Keith feels the transition close at hand and slowly moves in that direction. It's silky smooth. The transition into "Eyes" is more deliberate, but it still works. Phil's playing in this whole sequence is simply incredible. He plays with the melody and firmly within the rhythmic framework. He's a singular talent. Out of the three times they played "World To Give," this particular version stands head and shoulders above the others. Bob weaves in touching slide chords and lines below Jerry's heartfelt solo, where he stretches the emotive content of the melody. Recommended, but still not a top notch show.