The Dead first returned to the scene of the crime almost exactly three years to the day on 5/7/80. They played a spirited show, one that was tapped to be used as part of Road Trips vol 3 no 4, but this show is fantastic representative of the bands tight jams in 1981. Download the SBD of the other Cornell show HERE and HERE.
"Your eyes tell more than you mean them too," Bobby sing and so does this first set. A long long crazy first set is set up by this "Stranger." The "Friend" that comes next features a extensive and enjoyable from Brent Mydland like the "Stranger." By now Brent had really found his niche in the band and was give encouragement to play those keys to his heart's desire. The "Althea" starts off slowly but gets up to speed thanks to Bobby's slide playing on the tune, which he segues into the blues number "CC Rider." The band grooves before the next two songs, like they are warming up their Bug before throwing it into gear. And it's a goo thing because they burn rubber through "Brown-Eyed Woman" and "Passenger." A beautiful "High Time" eases the mood before the double set closer of "Let It Grow" into "Don't Ease" closes out the set. I'm a big fan of 1976 "Let It Grow," with the drum solo in thee middle but this one is up there as one the best. Just a beautiful played version, real driving like it is coming down from the voice of god.
Now I am willing to say that this is a better version of "Shakedown Street," then the "best one" that ended up on the "So Many Roads" box set. I'm not trying to take anything away from the Halloween '84 version but there is a lot of funk and wonderful entwining vocals on this "Shakedown." The reason it probably wasn't tapped because it segues into "Bertha." This is the first "Shakedown/Bertha" since 5/7/80, which was the last time at Barton Hall. An excellent "Sailor/Saint" provides the slipper slope as the band plays the first of two jams in the set, "Spanish Jam." This is the second "Spanish jam" since 1976. "Truckin'" bounces out of "Space," and leads the band to the second "Nobody's Fault jam" since 1979. Slowly and smoothly they moved into a moving "Stella Blue." Jerry gives it his all but then steps up a notch as he shreds the solo at the end of the song. Twinkling the notes and the band moves the tempo and it briefly sounds like it might go into "Sugar Mags," but instead rocks into "Going Down the Road." Jerry is on fire as he kicks his guitar into overdrive for "Going where the climate suits my cloths." The instrumental code turns into the set closer of "One More Saturday Night." With the "Uncle John's" encore, Barton Hall has done it again. Three spectacular shows played inside its walls "built of cannonballs."
I: Stranger, FOTD, Uncle, Big River, Althea, CC Rider, BE Woman, Passenger, High Time, Let It Grow, Don't Ease
II: Shakedown, Bertha, Lost Sailor, Saint, Spanish Jam, Drums, Space, Truckin', Nobody Jam, Stella Blue, GDTRFB, OMSN E: Uncle John's