"If you tell the Truth, you don't have to remember anything"
-Mark Twain
"You realize, of course, that everything I say is horseshit." -Kurt Vonnegut

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Just One More Thing From Me

Different generations of DeadHead's will talk about fondly about different shows that they caught. The generation above me usually brag about 1989, which was the start of a true renaissance in the Grateful Dead history. The generation before the '89ers brag about being at a gig on this day in 1980, in Lewiston Maine. The famous photographer Jay Blakesberg on his Instagram, (photo at the bottom of the blog) will occasionally release photo's of his friends getting down at this gig because it was a seminal show in the Grateful Dead's history. DeadHead's like him who missed 1977, usually mention this as being their crowning moment with the band.
I met a guy though work who had a dancing bear on the back of his car, he mentioned how when he dropped his daughter off at Cornell, that he made a stop by Barton Hall. Then he went on to tell me how the best show he ever saw was this Lewiston show. Which prompted a whole conversation about the show and my one great disappointment with the show, there is no true soundboard of the show in circulation. But you can find the FOB Charlie Miller transfer HERE.
The show kicks off with two blazing songs, and is followed by one of those versions of "Sugaree" that ranks as one of their best ever. The band gets into the solo of this "Sugaree" early and they come back around and destroy it again and again. Jerry leads the band through the show and the machine gun note laying is on that even on tape the volume of the jam comes through even on the digital copy for all 16 minutes of the song. Jerry's desire to rock it out doesn't only come through on the "Sugaree," but also on songs "Tennessee Jed," "Stranger," and "Rooster." The big twist of the set comes when the band plays the late set "China/Rider." Eleven songs into the set the band shows their first glimpse of winding down the set and yet they still feel the need to cap the set with "Promised Land." Thirteen songs in this marathon set.
The second set opens with a marvelous "Shakedown St," which might not be the longest in their history but has great energy. The band settles into the thick jam and at one point you can hear Jerry give a little giggle at his enjoyment of the groove. The band then takes their time to play some of their new material in "Sailor/Saint" and "Althea." All three songs are just over a year old and have developed in that time. After "Althea" the band cuts loose with a vanishing "Playin' in the Band." Very quickly the "Playin'" jam evolves into a manic spacey jam that "Uncle John's" is the light at the end of the tunnel for. They loose the "Uncle John's" before the ending of the song to a short "Drums/Space." A bit of that 70's funk comes through on this vintage version of "Not Fade Away." This slick song flows through a key change and into an audience appreciated "The Wheel." This allows the  band to finish what they had started with reprises of "Uncle John's" and "Playin'." Still enjoying the atmosphere, Bobby showman, ends the set with "Sugar Mags."
After a thirteen song first set, the boys play a thirteen song second set and cap the show with a double encore. To my memory, this is the last of the marathon two set Grateful Dead shows. It's not the six hour six set show of 5/15/70, but is similar to the 25 song shows of 1972 that would have the band on stage for four hours. To my memory this is the last of the marathon 25 song two set shows. Yes there are the three setters that could equal this song total but after the 15 year anniversary shows the band's first sets got shorter and shorter. So I believe that this is the longest show of the 1980's, which is why this night lives as a special evening in some DeadHead's memories. 
I: Alabama, Greatest, Sugaree, Uncle, Mexicali, Jed, Stranger, Friend, Far From Me, Rooster, China Cat, Rider, Promised
II: Shakedown, Sailor, Saint, Althea, Playin', Uncle John's, Drums, Space, NFA, Wheel, Uncle John's, Playin', Sugar Mags E: Saturday Night, Brokedown

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