Grateful Dead: 1982 Summer Tour Mixtape #5 (Fire)

This 5th (of 5) Grateful Dead Summer ’82 mixtapes focusses on jams and improvisation. 

It draws heavily from the only released show from this tour – 7/31/82, Austin, TX. On that basis, the mix might be of less interest to some, but I’ve attempted to mutate things into a unique trip.

The Austin “Eyes” and “Dew” appear unaltered. The “Estimated” and “Truckin’” appear in jam-only edits, because their song-stems were nothing special, while the variable parts were. The “Scarlet > Fire” has been interrupted to include all three of the “Scarlet” jams from the tour, so if you’ve ever wanted to listen to that jam for 19 minutes straight, here you go.

From other shows, I have included two free-standing jams, a silky “Supplication,” and a 20-minute “Playin’”. This “Playin’” is an edit of the 7/27 Red Rocks performance, which was played in three pieces across the second set; I’ve put those pieces together. Look out for Weir and Mydland improvising vocals early in the jam.

110-minute mp3 mix zipped up here (dates and cities included in mp3 tags)

  • Scarlet Begonias
  • Scarlet Jam
  • Scarlet Jam
  • Scarlet Jam >
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • Eyes of the World
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Supplication
  • Jam
  • Jam after Terrapin
  • Estimated Prophet Jam
  • Jam > Truckin’ Jam >
  • Morning Dew

You can find all five of the mixtapes from the tour here.

Grateful Dead: 1982 Summer Tour Mixtape #4 (A Real Good Time)

This 4th (of 5) Grateful Dead Summer ’82 mixtapes is exactly what the subtitle indicates. It corrals mostly up-tempo, feel-good numbers on which fiery performances and good soundboard mixes combined to create a real good time. You get to slow down your dancing and catch your breath at “Tennessee Jed” and “They Love Each Other.” 

There’s a bit of a 1st-set > 2nd set trajectory, with “Playin’ in the Band” making one of three appearances on these tour mixes, because it was a very good moment for that jam. This mix also includes another fine example of Jerry’s enthusiasm for cooking up interesting leads in “Space” during this tour. "Not Fade Away" makes its second (and final) appearance on the mixes, in the most jammed-out version.

This mixtape is the fourth of five drawn from the tour, which I’m numbering and posting in no particular order. Each tries to provide a different angle on the music. They’ll collect under the blog tag GD Summer ’82. 

106-minute mp3 mix zipped up here (dates and venues included in mp3 tags)

  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • The Music Never Stopped (reprise)
  • Cumberland Blues
  • Franklin’s Tower
  • Tennessee Jed
  • They Love Each Other
  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • Iko Iko
  • Improv: Jerry Has Some Ideas > 
  • Improv: Jerry’s Big Idea >
  • Not Fade Away
  • Sugar Magnolia
  • Casey Jones

Rolling Stones: Some People Tell Me (R&B rehearsals 1977-1979)

The Rolling Stones’ late-1970s studio sessions were packed with casual demonstrations of the band's core competency as a rhythm & blues outfit. Nearly all of it must have been about limbering up and just having some fun, though there are a few tracks suitable for b-sides. Regardless, the relaxed, spontaneous character of the performances is one of the most appealing features.

The death of Charlie Watts caused me to pull this mix out, because I remembered being impressed with how many different blues and R&B modes he dropped into effortlessly, from extremely subtle, almost jazz-like minimalism to propulsive thumping. It’s his drums that give shape and drama to many of these tracks.

76-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Petrol Gang
  • Some People Tell Me
  • My First Plea
  • Little Cocksucker (inst.)
  • Blues with a Feeling
  • After Hours Blues (instr.)
  • I Ain’t Superstitious
  • Jimmy Reed Jam (instr.)
  • What Am I Living For
  • Armpit Blues (instr.)
  • When You’re Gone (Red Eyes)
  • Sweet Little Rock’n Roller (instr.)
  • The Fat Man
  • Shame Shame Shame
  • Broken Head Blues (instr.)
  • Up Against the Wall (instr.)
  • Sweet Home Chicago 1
  • Sweet Home Chicago 2
  • You Don’t Have to Go

Grateful Dead: 1982 Summer Tour Mixtape #3 (Starlight)

This mix offers a single-CD-length trip through exceptional performances from the Grateful Dead’s second set at the Starlight Theatre, in Kansas City, MO, on 8/3/82. The soundboard mix is as great as the music.

Listening intently to the Dead’s Summer ’82 tour, I didn’t find any continuous stretches of performance as exceptional as this night's second set. (The Austin show’s second set is close - possibly a tie.) Additionally, there are a number of great first set performances from Kansas City that I sprinkled across the other SYF Summer ’82 mixtapes. 

The tracks included here are a continuous performance with two omissions: “Drums” are distorted on the soundboard, and the wonderful “To Lay Me Down,” which appeared between “Samson” and “Let It Grow,” has been relocated to the lead song position on this mix, where it can shine more brightly. I was able to create a seamless segue between “Let It Grow” and “Jam.”

The result is a huge, one-night jam that begins with what is arguably the single best live execution of “Shakedown Street,” all factors considered – Garcia's vocals being the toughest box to check. This whole Summer ’82 excavation began with David Leopold (@pknot) pointing me at this “Shakedown,” so, many thanks to him.

This mixtape is the third of five drawn from the tour, which I’m numbering and posting in no particular order. Each tries to provide a different angle on the music. With exceptions for “Playin’” and “The Other One,” no songs are repeated. They’ll collect under the blog tag GD Summer ’82. 

76-minute mp3 experience zipped up here (date and venue included in mp3 tags)

  • Shakedown Street >
  • Samson and Delilah
  • Let It Grow
  • Jam >
  • He’s Gone >
  • The Other One >
  • Stella Blue

Grateful Dead: 1982 Summer Tour Mixtape #2 (Sing Me Sweet & Sleepy)

This 2-LP-length mix gathers together wonderful Summer ’82 takes on the Grateful Dead’s subtler, slower, prettier songs. The band was tight, the singers were in strong voice, and the soundboard mixes put it all together very nicely. 

It’s a great moment to check in on these songs and on the band’s capacity for beauty and nuance in the early 1980s.

In performance, these songs were flanked by utterly different material and vibes - bombast on all sides. On this mix, birds of a similar feather get to vibe together. 

When you pull aside an artist’s gentler material, the dynamic range of that material expands to fill the listening universe. But even without that effect, I wouldn’t call the material on this mix “mellow,” by any measure. It is tremendously muscular music, thanks to the combination of snug grooves, well-narrated tales, synchronized turns, fine detailing, and good soundboard mixes.

I’ve arranged things to provide an accelerated first-set > second-set arc (without consideration for where the songs appeared in the actual shows).

This is the second of five mixtapes drawn from the tour, which I’m numbering and posting in no particular order. Each tries to provide a different angle on the music. With exceptions for “Playin’” and “The Other One,” no songs are repeated. They’ll collect under the blog tag GD Summer ’82. Please don’t complain until all five mixes have posted.

102-minute mp3 mix zipped up here (dates and venues included in mp3 tags)

  • Improv: Jerry’s Whimsy (Austin)
  • To Lay Me Down
  • Althea
  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
  • Black Peter
  • Peggy-O
  • Row Jimmy
  • Looks Like Rain
  • Friend of the Devil
  • Bird Song
  • Improv: Jerry’s Whimsy (Red Rocks)
  • Improv > The Wheel
  • Lost Sailor >
  • Saint of Circumstance

Grateful Dead: 1982 Summer Tour Mixtape #1 (Skullfu*k Revisited)

This 2-LP-length mix approximates 1971’s “Skull and Roses” album using selections from the Grateful Dead’s 1982 Summer Tour. Substitutions have been made to round out the affect/effect and anomalies included to honor some as-performed continuities. 

The 1982 Summer Tour was very strong, and the soundboard mixes are mostly quite satisfying, though their ambiance varies. (I skipped one audience-only show and one soundboard-sounds-weird show - both Red Rocks at the start of the tour.)

This is the first of five mixtapes drawn from the tour, which I’m numbering and posting in no particular order. Each tries to provide a different angle on the music. With exceptions for “Playin’” and “The Other One,” no songs are repeated across the mixes. They’ll collect under the blog tag GD Summer ’82. Please don’t complain until all five mixes have posted.

For this mix, the basic Skullfu*k recipe holds: half a crackling, short-song, high-on-cocaine, rock-and-roll-cowboy album, and half a deeper dive into more expansive territory. 

97-minute mp3 mix zipped up here (dates and venues included in song tags)

  • On the Road Again
  • Mama Tried
  • Big Railroad Blues
  • It’s All Over Now (I Used to Love Her)
  • Me & My Uncle
  • I Need a Miracle >
  • Bertha
  • Don’t Ease Me In
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Jam > The Other One >
  • Not Fade Away
  • Wharf Rat
  • Goin’ Down the Road, Feelin’ Bad
  • Johnny B. Goode
  • Satisfaction >
  • Brokedown Palace

Cover art: Hilgart, a high-resolution scan of a detail of a classic comic book ad, channel-shifted.

Jerry Garcia: “Shakedown Street” Demo (c. 1978)

Check out Jerry Garcia’s dulcet-toned, falsetto vocals, on top of his one-man-band backing track demo. It’s tragic he didn’t add a lead guitar part to this recording.

Garcia struggled to sing this melody live, possibly to a greater degree than any other song he wrote for himself to sing. That’s reasonable, given the ask. The challenging portions of the vocals are just three short verses, but they are demanding. They each require a zero-to-correct, hard-hitting start, and all the lines end in melisma. When you get to the chorus, it’s nearly foolproof, but the verses…

Hard to do, when you’re singing loudly on top of cranking live Grateful Dead, and you can’t just adjust things to suit wherever your Jerry-voice happens to be this year or this tour. This demo gives Garcia all the repose he needs to execute a disco vocal to match his musical disco vision - in a more expressive way than on the highly-processed studio album recording. 

He probably should have shopped the song out to the major disco acts of the era, who could have supercharged the vocals and made it a hit. It should have been a hit. It’s one of the great disco compositions, but there’s no single recording that backs up that assertion.

I have no issues with the way the Grateful Dead played the song – it’s one of my top five GD vehicles – but there aren’t many performances on which you’d give Garcia an “A” for his execution of the verses. Which is unfortunate, given the greatness of the song and its stature in the Dead canon.

Cover art: Detail of Gilbert Shelton watercolor, 1978

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Grateful Dead: July 10, 1990 - Raleigh, NC

This mix presents 78 minutes from an unreleased concert with an extraordinary second set. It was one of Brent Mydland’s final shows. Video of the full concert aired as a “Shakedown Stream” in 2020.

The show was a perfect storm of sorts. The first set transpired in miserable heat and humidity, periodic rain, and a thunderstorm that cut the power in the middle of a song. Then the rain ended, the sun went down, a little breeze kicked up, and a monster second set blew us away.

This mix provides the full second set, minus the opening “Iko Iko,” “Drums,” and “Space.” The former was made mushy by Hornsby guesting on accordion, and the latter weren’t very interesting. Fortuitously, I found a way to flow the “Playin’ Jam” into “The Other One” so smoothly that you’ll never find the edit. 

Seemed like the the “album experience” had to lead with the second set, so several terrific first set songs became an extension of the “Brokedown” encore. 

78-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • Uncle John’s Band >
  • Playin’ Jam
  • The Other One >
  • Stella Blue >
  • Not Fade Away
  • Brokedown Palace
  • Friend of the Devil
  • Loser
  • Big River

Cover: Rothko, Untitled (Blue, Green, and Brown)

Grateful Dead: Chapel Hill ’93 (March 24-25, 1993)

This mix provides 78 minutes of music from the two shows that made me stop attending Dead concerts.

Making this mix, I’ve concluded that a significant part of what turned me off those two nights was the mix. 

I went into the shows predisposed to be disappointed (but ready to be turned on). I’d only seen Vince on solo keys twice before (and still missed Brent), I had no interest in new songs, and I was hoping for a very different setlist, based on what I’d never seen performed live. 

And I also hated Garcia’s lyric lapses in the period; when a song was going great, I’d still be on pins and needles wondering whether he was going to remember the first line of the next verse.

For all those reasons, the Chapel Hill shows were disappointing. But those things don’t matter in 2021, when you’re curating tapes, and you’ve come to know and love the late-period band and memorized 60 hours of their best tracks. 

However, there’s that other dependency: Is the mix any good? Pleasing to listen to?

I didn’t remember much about the music of the Chapel Hill shows, but I did remember the sonic, aesthetic experience. The music seemed insubstantial and unfocussed. It was hard to inhabit.

My pal and I attributed that to the band, but listening to the tapes, I think it was the guy at the mixing board who created the estranging experience. 

There are the usual, random Healy failures. One night, Garcia’s vocals are quiet and Welnick’s keys are too loud. The other night, Welnick is often hard to hear, even when he’s soloing. Sometimes Weir’s guitar is too loud.

But even when nothing like that is obvious, there’s a hard-to-put-your-finger on lack of balance, dynamics, presence… The “Terrapin” seems to be played well, but everything delicate about it is trampled by the mix, etc. The players are playing together, but Healy has built little walls between them.

So, I had to kill a lot of seemingly very nice performances to make a mixtape that you can “get into” properly. As always, I tried to hide the defects to the point where you might not notice them (if I hadn't drawn attention to them!). I think the result is quite enjoyable, though not the first 1993 Save Your Face mixtape I’d point you at.

I post it nonetheless, as part of my journey through all the shows I actually attended. Points of interest include:

  • An exquisite, entirely-on-point Crazy Fingers with a long jam
  • A nice example of this period’s “Jam Out of Terrapin”
  • The only Spanish Jam of 1993
  • An extended jazzy zone with the Space excerpt (Garcia/Weir!) and the Eternity edit
  • Garcia's “trumpet” on “Women Smarter”

78-minute mp3 mixtape zipped up here

  • New Minglewood Blues
  • Big River
  • Lazy River Road
  • Man Smart, Women Smarter
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Crazy Fingers
  • Spanish Jam >
  • Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
  • Jam After Terrapin
  • Space excerpt
  • Eternity (instr. edit)
  • Liberty 

Grateful Dead: First Night in Greensboro (3/31/1991)

This mix presents 80 minutes from the first night of the Dead’s 1991 two-show run in Greensboro, NC. The second night is curated separately, here (same cover art).

I haven’t previously offered a mixtape from this show, because two of the most outstanding songs (Samson and Eyes) were released as filler on Dick’s Picks 17: September 21, 1991 Boston. The Samson is incendiary, and the long Eyes is both wonderful overall and has a truly magnificent passage; between the first and second vocal sections, Hornsby finds a magical riff, Jerry and the band latch on for Hornsby’s extended solo, and then Jerry delivers a great “flute” solo that is loud enough in the soundboard mix to really kick, for once. (When he turned on that effect, he almost aways got quieter than his natural sound.)

I am offering up a mixtape of the show now, because I’m going through all the shows I actually saw (merely 11) and discovering the best stuff I witnessed. The next night in Greensboro delivered the “Dark Star” I’d been waiting for, and this first night gave me the extraordinary “Eyes” to match. Big numbers checked off.

Never knew ’til now that I caught a notable, short “Might as Well” resurgence, or that the second half of this “Around and Around” was something I’d prize 30 years later.

More comments on the performance and the Hornsby/Welnick era below the track list.

80-minute mp3 mixtape here

  • West LA Fadeaway
  • Cassidy
  • Samson & Delilah
  • Eyes of the World >
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • The Wheel >
  • Around & Around
  • Might As Well

More talking: 

I am ambivalent (song by song) about the Hornsby/Welnick keyboard double-up. Hornsby was as wonderful a keys player as any they had, and I’m a committed Welnick fan in the 1994-ish moment (and credit both his and the drummers’ restraint for the magic of the band’s final “sound”). 

However, there’s often too much going on in the overlap period, with Hornsby playing an actual piano forcing Welnick’s sounds into unpleasant places, to keep him distinct from everyone else playing chords and fills into the collective, mid-range-frequency, -rhythm, -harmonics zone. (“Nice solo, Vince, but what instrument are they making you play?” But also, it is not a bit worse than that f*cking accordion.)

All that said, the too-many-players issue was often not an issue at all, resolving itself into a sonic slab that is quite exhilarating and distinct, as on this “West LA Fadeaway.” And a lot of the time, everyone was so respectful of each other that you have no visceral sense of two keyboards (and Weir, and two drummers) getting crowded. For example, this “Eyes.”

People complain about Welnick’s “tones,” and I get that, but I also think these people are talking primarily about 1991-1992, rather than his post-Hornsby playing. (e.g., the best of 1993-1994)

As the post-Hornsby, solo keyboardist, Welnick chose more natural piano sounds for the most of his playing, displayed his jazzy harmonic instincts all over the place, and become a nuanced accompanist who didn’t insert the constant aggro-horny energy of Brent Mydland. He was restrained and thoughtful. 

Welnick was relegated to the texture guy, the sheets-of-synths-guy, for a couple of years, then he got his shot as a full participant in a smaller combo, and I think he made his mark. So, this mixtape from a ’91 show is more about Hornsby than Welnick. Just saying, don’t shoot off your mouth about Welnick until you’ve done all the listening homework.