Road Trips Vol. 3 No.1:
The Grateful Dead played a five night
extravaganza to close the year 1979 as they continue to break in their
newest band member, Brent Mydland. The five December evenings being
12/26, 12/27, 12/28, 12/30, and 12/31. The fifth edition of Dick's Picks derived material from
this billing, December 26th.
first set is somewhat short, but there is no filler. Perhaps some may say
another "Row Jimmy," but it's a good song that fits into the
set nicely. Jerry's voice has the perfect ragged edge on this
ending of "It's All Over Now" we get some Phil bombs to
make this one memorable. These are so powerful and fully defined.
Incredible. It's not just one or two blasts, rather a complete
assault. They keep coming. Just when your woofer stops vibrating
there's another, another, and another, and their so nicely defined. The highlight of the show?
strengths of the set include the opener as well as the closer. To
begin "Sugaree" is more than one could hope
for, and the finale is a stupendously
delivered Weir tune, "The Music Never Stopped."
out disc one is the second set opening pairing of "Alabama
Getaway" > "The Greatest Story Ever Told." Both
songs are good individually and when combined this way make for a
super charged beginning. I happen to enjoy the early versions of
"Alabama Getaway," a song that debuted in 1979.
along to the second disc. It starts with "Terrapin
Station." The last Grateful Dead release, the nine disc Winterland Complete June 1977 had
several early versions of the song. This rendition proves that the Brent line-up can
execute this song just as scrumptiously, and they follow it with a lengthy
and jammed out reading of "Playing in the Band." The rest of the set they
from the ballads. Instead, a grooving "Uncle John's Band,"
followed by a more than satisfactory trio of fast paced rockers;
"I Need A Miracle" > "Bertha" > "Good Lovin’."
song encore stays with the upbeat tone. Summing
it up, we have a terrific complete show. Overall, a party mode
affair, very energetic. I have a bootleg of this show and comparing the sonics
of it to
the official release makes that coaster material. The superb sound
quality intensifies this shows listening enjoyment. Too, a complete
show, and smooth flow are factors to overcome an ordinary song
Grade A -
The bonus material from the 12/30/79 show captures quite a bit of
that evenings highlights. From the first set there are five
songs, the first two as well as a trio of songs toward the end. Some
may argue two songs, because "Lazy Lightning" >
"Supplication" are married together as one. Regarding
upon a listen to them it dawned on me how few versions of them I have in the Brent
era. The high pitched background vocals is their imitation of Donna
After, the second disc is generously represented. While
"Drums" and "Space" are excluded, the preceding
trio of songs and the two following are all keepers. What rhythm
"Scarlet." Following > as Garcia starts his riffs to "Fire
of the Mountain" Jerry's guitar tones float along, over,
through, and between the musical foundation set forth by the band.
Then > "Let if Grow," and after that there's still
another 20 minutes to go. No doubt, this bonus disc of music is a