There is an audience recording of the show available on Archive that is very listenable, and if you'd rather hear the crowds reaction to the madness than download that instead. In fact, all three nights of the run are worth a listen. Each is compelling in its own way. This first night is probably the best show of the early 80's.
The show opens with your standard versions of "Bertha and "Greatest Story." A lovely upbeat "Dire Wolf" is followed by "CC Rider" where Bobby adds a premonitioning line. After singing, "See how the moon is shinning brighter," he adds "See it later tonight."
"Dupree's" comes later in the set and it features some really great guitar work by Jerry. But every time he comes out of a solo he struggles to find his spot in the lyrics. Its strange when you consider that they played this song more frequently in the early 80's then any other time. Bobby then amps up the set with "Bucket," which runs right into "Might as Well" to close the set.
A pretty amazing "Scarlet" opens up the second set. The end jam opens into a wide open ended jam that builds as Phil and Bobby morf into "Fire." Jerry is there for a bar then decides to jump into "Touch." The "Touch" is a shot of energy, though the song has not yet found the tightness that would turn it into their single. The band then slides back into "Fire," which is electric.If the show ended with the heart wrenching "Stella Blue" and the rocking "Sugar Mags" the show would still be a show Heads go back to listen to. But, as the band took the stage Phil came up to the mic and said, "We're gonna try something, one night only, one night only." For the first and only time in Grateful Dead history, the band encored with "Dark Star" and as they launched into the song a shooting star illuminated the sky above them.
From the on set of the "Dark Star" the band seems a little tentative to be in this vehicle. The reason is that they haven't played a "Dark Star" since New Years 1981 and they wouldn't play it again until the Warlocks hit the stage in Hampton '89. Actually, this is only the second "Dark Star" that Brent Myland had played with the band. The first verse comes in the first minute of the song.
The band then starts to meander, slowly intertwining the main rift as they experiment, pushing the theme out as they blissfully inquire the notes of the spheres. The music pushes the band and either Jerry or Brent entwines the main rift as a reminder. The whole band returns to the rift as Jerry sings the second verse before sinking into the bold feedback. They do this until there is nothingness. The crowd is left wondering, did the "Dark Star" cause the shooting star?
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