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 12, 2011
1982-10-17 - Santa Fe Downs
Venue: Santa Fe Downs - Santa Fe, NM
Tape History: AUD (Unknown, download here)
Release History: None
*Half-Step -> *Franklin's Tower -> *New Minglewood Blues, Candyman, *Me & My Uncle -> Mexicali Blues, *Althea, Man Smart-Woman Smarter, Ramble On Rose, *Let It Grow -> *Deal
*Shakedown Street -> *Samson And Delilah, Good Time Blues, *Estimated Prophet -> *He's Gone -> *Drums -> *Space -> *Throwin' Stones -> *GDTRFB -> *The Wheel -> *The Other One -> *Wharf Rat -> *Good Lovin', E: Don't Ease Me In
01-12-2011: From the dawn of 1980 to the end of 1983, the Dead were on a serious roll. Each year had its own first-rate shows and and top-notch tours, but each of these four years were uniformly strong. 1982 is probably the most underrated of these years, and this particular show is the big time gem from the fall of 1982. The most obvious choices for '82 are 07-31 Austin, 08-10 Iowa, and the pair of shows at the Frost Amphitheater about a week before this one. Here at GD Notebook I give equal love to the gems and the stand-outs. Little by little, I'll be filling out the GD years with both types of gigs.
The first set is expertly crafted. "Half-Step" -> "Franklin's" openers are always a good omen, and here they do not disappoint. Jerry overcomes a few vocal flubs in "Half-Step" with sweet leads through the changes. "Franklin's" doesn't hit a peak until near the end of the tune, where Jerry brings it all home while playing off the Rhythm Devils. Following with "Minglewood" makes three it burners to begin the first set. Can't beat it! I love Bobby's comment after Candyman, "We're going to do some local color tunes" to introduce the C&W songs. Jerry takes three turns through "Uncle," using the chord progression to create melodic phrases that shift seamlessly through registers. I am going to go out on a limb and say that the early '80s was the best period for "Althea." This is another tremendous version (forgotten verse by Jerry and cut ending notwithstanding.) Phil, Bob, and Brent are locked into the main verse groove, it really bumps and struts. I always imagined that the Althea in the song had a sultry walk because of this groove. I get the feeling that whenever Jerry forgets a lyric he amps up his playing for the rest of the tune, which carries over to the rest of the set and perhaps show. The band ends the set with authority with "Let It Grow" -> "Deal," a warning to all comers that the second set was going to rip fire.
Opening with "Shakedown" -> "Samson" ought to do it. (As one audience member says after the opener's conclusion, "Wow! Samson!") I consistently come back to this second set. It's one of the best, most resolute sets of the '80s. I can't say enough about it. The only pause they take is with "Good Time Blues." After that, they apparently said to hell with regaining their collective breath. Everything else is superb Dead, rigorous jamming, focused movements through segues, and a completely unyielding post-"Drums" segment. We'd be lucky to get a "Throwin' Stones" and "GDTRFB" and then maybe a "Black Peter" and, for this era, an almost guaranteed "Sugar Magnolia." But instead, they bring a segment from about a month earlier (09-09 New Orleans), and close out with "The Wheel" -> "The Other One" -> "Wharf Rat" -> "Good Lovin'." Incidentally, 09-09 and this gig are the only two times in the Dead's history these four songs were played in the same show, and here we have them in the same sequence, both to end the second sets of their respective shows. I'm telling you, you just can't make things like this up. This is a necessary show in all Deadheads' '80s collections.
Me & My Uncle
(Poster design by: D. Larkins and D. Sawyer)