Grateful Dead: Go to Alaska (June 19-21, 1980)

In June 1980, the Grateful Dead went to a very nice high school gym in Anchorage, Alaska, for three nights that included the summer solstice. The venue had previously hosted artists such as Dave Brubeck and Leonard Bernstein, and it held 2,000 people. The promoter sweetened the gig offer with a hunting and fishing trip for the band.

The Alaska run (June 19-21) came five days after the band dashed through Portland, Seattle, and Spokane on consecutive nights (June 12-14). A week after Alaska, the band performed in LA and San Diego and then took six weeks off. 

This mix offers a 3-LP (2h 15m) Alaska “album” derived from eight hours of soundboard recordings (mastered by Miller), which I find exceptional.

The vocals are very forward, and every voice and instrument is clearly separated, while blending nicely. The resulting sound experience is very detailed and intimate-feeling, while also having plenty of oomph. 

With very few exceptions, I was able to segue these picks, such that they provide an unbroken listening experience.

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  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • The Music Never Stopped
  • Sugaree
  • Far from Me
  • Loser
  • Let it Grow
  • Althea
  • Estimated Prophet >
  • The Other One
  • Not Fade Away >
  • Black Peter
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Supplication
  • Ship of Fools
  • Brokedown Palace
25 responses
This sound great. Thank you for putting this out.
Thanks for posting some nice new tunes John. Just downloaded so will provide impressions later. The cover art is stunning.
Looking forward to listening! Heard parts of these shows before and they were good; thanks for condensing them into a nice mix. Keep it going!
I've been spinning this a bunch and, if nothing else, I've found my new favorite Sugaree. The Playin>Supplication slice is super cool. This is great. Random suggestion, but I would love a mix recreating an album of the Dead's first songs (as opposed to their last ones, which has already been done around these parts and others). I've seen a couple floating around but none of them have particularly impressed me, and I hope you could work your magic. I personally think the Dead wrote a bunch of great songs in 65-67 that never really saw the light of day, and instead we got a fun but not particularly impressive debut of truncated covers that they were doing better live. Anyway, here's the info that should get you started with this project if you have any interest:
Awesome! I really don't get it, why the only official output from 1980 is all about those acoustic shows. This is great music (and I agree, that album cover is gorgeous, better than many real GD covers!)
John, is there a good way to contact you other than your twitter?.. Thanks for your excellent work..
James, can you message me on twitter? I can share direct contact info in a DM.
Just saying hey really kind rainbow brother🤣
Where can I purchase this 3lp vinyl from Alaska? Thanks!
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