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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

1982 August 10 - Iowa City, IA

Jerry Garcia 1982

GRATEFUL DEAD
Tuesday, August 10, 1982
University of Iowa Fieldhouse - Iowa City, IA
Audience Recording

1982 sits smack in the midst of probably the darkest stretch of the Grateful Dead's musical career, fame-wise. By '82 the 70's Classic Rock thing had significantly worn off its claim on popular music, and the band was still a number of years away from its full re-immergence into popularity to come later in the decade. Nestled into the quiet earlier 80's, 1982 often holds surprisingly archetypical musical representations of the Grateful Dead. While it doesn't top many (if any) favorite year lists, it's one of those years where you can be rewarded by doing nothing more than randomly selecting a date and giving it a spin on the stereo. 1982 is well worth exploring.

Jerry Garcia January 1982August 10, 1982 was actually the very first tape I pulled out when I decided to begin the Dead Listening project. It made no sense--I'm a 1973 fan through and through--but for some reason, after many years away from the Dead's music, this date was the first to call to me as I stared at my wall of CDs. In my time away, my mind had gotten very fuzzy regarding the Dead's musical history. The ability to look at a tape or CD and instantly recall the musical memory of its highlights was nearly extinguished. Yet when I saw this date, I remembered a wonderful Eyes of the World, and a delicious sound quality to the recording. So 8/10/82 was the first show I loaded onto my iPod. I had a mixed listening experience, not because the actual show was disappointing, but probably because returning to the Dead's music after so long kicked up a significant amount of dust. In an odd way it felt like I was listening to the music through a thick clouded glass window.

I'm not sure why I didn't get to reviewing this date earlier. Lord knows I've let my ears dabble back into this tape many times. Now it seems to fit in nicely.

Set 1: Feel Like A Stranger, Friend Of The Devil, New Minglewood Blues, Tennessee Jed, Cassidy, It Must Have Been The Roses, On The Road Again > Beat It On Down The Line, Stagger Lee, I Need A Miracle > Bertha
Set 2: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Lost Sailor > Saint Of Circumstance > Eyes Of The World > Drums > Space > Aiko Aiko > Truckin' > Stella Blue > Sugar Magnolia E: It's All Over Now Baby Blue > Johnny B. Goode


Pretty much my first take away from this show is how interesting the first set list looks on paper. Friend of the Devil in the number two spot, an always welcome It Must Have Been The Roses, and the first of only two times we saw the pairing of On The Road Again into Beat It On Down The Line (the last came two months later).

Grateful Dead May 22-23 1982A tune that could be worn as a badge of 1982 in many ways, Feel Like A Stranger is completely satisfying as the show opener. It bobs and weaves, brimming over with the very essence of the band's sound. More and more as I listen to this audience recording I am struck by how pristinely this sounds exactly like the Grateful Dead. I know that's sort of a goofy thing to say, but maybe you'll get my point as you listen. The taper, Kenny Mance, is FOB (in Front Of the sound Board), and from that position in the 4th row Garcia's guitar in particular outdoes itself in conveying precisely those characteristics which epitomized his sound completely. That deep richness coupled with his signature twang and sizzle-pop high-end just oozes from this tape. At first I thought this impression about Jerry's sound was just due to my absence from the band's music, but the quality is as clear now as it was nearly two years ago when I first returned to the tape. It makes the entire listening experience more enjoyable and intimate at the same time.

With Friend of the Devil following the opening Stranger, I'm sold. Immediately I'm transported directly into my Grateful Dead "happy place." And the set rolls along ever so nicely. Cassidy threatens to drop the train off the rails into a storm filled psychedelic sea below the tracks. And even as it becomes clear that something has gone critically wrong with the entire PA system in Roses, it almost doesn't matter--so potent is the familiarity of the band and its audience here in '82. We're all completely comfortable and at ease. Technical difficulties simply don't matter. Well, they matter to the band and crew, thankfully.

While things are getting duct taped back together to make it through the set, Kenny continues to let the recording roll. There's some guy calling out for the band to let Phil sing and shortly after they unleashes an impromptu detour fully into Space--perhaps at a loss to come up with something else with which to test the PA, or maybe sparked by some vocal feedback. It comes out of nowhere and adds a twisted accent to an otherwise lull in the action, and proves that the sound system is back on its feet. There's even a wonderful little Tico Tico tuning just before they make it into On The Road Again. All in all this is one of the most satisfying "technical difficulties" you could ask for caught on tape.

The second set leaps out of the gate with a nice China > Rider. It's a musical selection that did not lose a step moving from one decade to the next. The transition jam is full of spinning kaleidoscope colors which slowly manage to congeal into the structure of I Know You Rider, with wonderful sparkling solos trailing out of Garcia all the while.

Bill Kreutzmann 09-21-82After a respectable Sailor > Saint--another staple of the early 80's--we transition into Eyes Of The World. It's played at a rapid tempo, and Jerry rushes into the first verse, but not before laying down some extremely enticing licks to start things off. The song just blossoms from there. Bobby is a master of syncopation while Garcia splashes and flourishes in rainbow brushstrokes. Again, I'm thoroughly consumed by how Jerry's tone bursts at the seams. As he flies over hills and up into the clouds, his guitar stands as tall as trees. It all ends too soon, as far as I'm concerned. The Drums and Space which follow feel a tad underplayed. The Space only seems to briefly reach the roaring chasm that was hinted in the first set. Still enjoyable, it isn't quite as monumental as many from 1982 could be.

The end of the set seems standard on paper, but it's definitely worth the listen. From the infectious Aiko Aiko to the way Stella Blue manages to gently throb like a massive tide of stars washing slowly in and out of your mind's eye through the final solo section, there is plenty to enjoy. Not to mention, who can avoid applauding the band from barely avoiding a train wreck (maybe not so barely) as Garcia slams out of Stella into Around & Around, only to have the rest of the band head into Sugar Mag. Ah... we love you guys, warts and all.

An "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" to lead off a two song encore is just icing on the cake here. Again, a lovely AUD recording ushers us in to another great show.

08/10/82 AUD etree source info
08/10/82 AUD Download

12 comments:

  1. Ha! Just when I was sitting down here wondering to myself: "When's Noah gonna get another review out there?"-- you go and drop another early 80s gem on us! ;-)

    Great Billy pic too!

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  2. Thanks for another great review. I download every one you recommend and find myself time--traveling from year to year. While I attended my fair share of shows I never got the guided tour you are giving. Definitely elevated my game. Thank you.

    Two questions. 1st. Why no shows from 87-89,91-92, or 94-95? and 2nd - what do you think are the most definitive (say top 4 or 5) China-Riders?

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  3. RhodyRed, thanks for the kind words.

    Answer 1: I know, I know. Post-84 is slightly out of my long time trading comfort zone. I owe it to the Guide to round all those years out a little. It will happen.

    Answer 2: Top 4 or 5? What a challenge! Well, one is here on the blog already: 06/22/74, another worth seeking out (not on the blog yet) is 07/31/73. And every time I return to 05/13/83 it puts a bigger smile on my face.

    Worth noting that if you stick with 1974 China > Riders you will often be well rewarded.

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  4. I am only able to find a partial first set on the IA, is this all there is? Please help. Thanks!

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  5. Probably one of the worst venues I've ever seen the Boys play, it was still a great show. That even includes the Rosemont Horizon, and that's saying something.

    I had a great time at this show, and am really glad that you pulled it out. Thus began my four years in Iowa City.

    Thanks, Noah, for bringing this out to the public.

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  6. Andrew, not sure what you bumped into. the archive link above gets you to the show where you gan download either each individual track, or a zip version. Give it another try. Perhaps it was a glitch?

    Staggerleib, worse that Rosemont? Damn. I mean, what more can one say?

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  7. 1982 has always been one of my favorite years. The strech of shows from late July through mid August are one of the GD's best runs ever.

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  8. I love Weir's comment about 12 seconds into BIODTL, after the bungled start: "just like a Swiss watch."

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  9. 1982 was the year I boarded the bus at a show in Norfolk, Virginia on April 3. It stands up as one of my favorite shows still.

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  10. Here are some fun things. Weir flips of Garcia and Starts into Sugar Mag after the Around intro. Before the encore, Phil comes out and thanks the tour folks for making the set so good. "And for the people who live around here and go to school around here, make 'em build a better place for us to play..." Bobby comes to the mic and says "Cheyenne" and then the two song encore. As we left the venue, the Perseids are showering in the sky and two local narcs are trying o buy "haysheesh" from the deadheads :)

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  11. I was at this show in front of the first row against the barrier right in front of Jerry. Yes it was the worst place I have ever seen them play but that was pretty cool. As they walk on stage at the start of the 2nd set I looked at Jerry and shouted China Cat. He was maybe 10 feet from me. It was the day after my birthday and I was stunned when I heard the opening guitar riff. I had forgotten about the "Swiss watch" remark. I have a 2nd gen AUD cassette that I haven't turned digital yet.

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  12. Indeed, one of the best early 80's shows. SBD here in case you're interested: http://we.tl/Os9mApGUsM

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