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Saturday, July 10, 2010

1982 October 9 - Frost Amphitheatre

Saturday, October 9, 1982
Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford University - Palo Alto, CA
Audience Recording

Amidst the backdrop of a jaw-droppingly sensational outdoor audience recording and a blisteringly clear representation of exactly what 1982 sounded like, here we are treated to something of a legendary performance by the Grateful Dead out of this all-too-often forgotten corner of the early 80's. The little two night stand at the Frost Amphitheatre in October 1982 has always been a pretty popular go-to set of shows from this year. Interestingly, as I return to this particular show after nearly a decade I am struck less by the way the band brings the roof down with some colossal psychedelic force, and much more by the way in which this performance exceeds expectation through intricate subtleties that may pass unnoticed by a less attentive ear.

In this quality, I think this show exudes something of the inherent intoxicating power of the early 80's altogether. I wonder if it might take a more travelled set of ears down the Grateful Dead road to truly hear this substratum of musical magic. Is it something akin to an advanced calculus class that would go completely over the head of someone yet to learn basic algebra? Is it fair to compare more classic Grateful Dead from the 60's and 70's to a basic level math class? I may be treading into dangerous waters with this analogy. Suffice it to say I will take it on as the duty of the Grateful Dead Listening Guide to draw your attention to this show specifically in an effort to make sure you come face to face with this potent yet infinitely subtle psychedelic tapestry. The night is alive with Technicolor sun streams and rivers of floating fractals, elements sitting just below the normally unassuming air. In the same way that 1976 tends to hide an infinite world of swirling detail just beyond the obvious scene before you, this show reveals riches hidden behind trees others may have neglected to peer around.

Set 1: Alabama Getaway > Greatest Story Ever Told, They Love Each Other, On The Road Again > Beat It On Down The Line, West L. A. Fade Away, Me & My Uncle > Big River, Dupree's Diamond Blues, The Music Never Stopped > Deal
Set 2: Throwing Stones > Touch Of Grey, Estimated Prophet > Eyes Of The World > Drums > Space > Truckin' > Other One > Morning Dew, One More Saturday Night E: U. S. Blues

A delightful and comfortable first set delivers several pleasures, not the least of which are the slippery and twisting paths of The Music Never Stopped and sizzling Deal to close the set off.

In set two, as the glittering caverns of Estimated Prophet's end jam begin to unfold before us, we are pulled from a simply sensational field recording made at the hands of Rango Keshavan, responsible for another equally stellar recording featured on the Guide, directly into a sonic landscape that commands a familiar singularity of experience. Individual boundaries dissolve and we are experiencing the music at what is instantly personal and universal at the same time. This time it comes in the working of subtle fingers. It's in the hidden interplay of rhythm between the drummers; the way the downbeat begins to snake in circles and echoing patterns. It's in the beautiful way that Garcia rises and falls. By the time they transition into Eyes of the World our hearts are lock step in time with the pulse of the band.

Jerry's solos in Eyes literally soar off the tape. They peak and dance and sparkle and shine with that joyful exuberance that so typifies the unbounded love deadheads have for the band. Place any fan into this passage of the show and they will begin to smile and sway, unable to remain focused on much else going on around them.

The post Drumz section of the show is what elevates this night into hallowed halls. With a Space that gorgeously swells and sways more than explodes and fractures, we segue nicely into Truckin'. The hints become more and more evident until we are bobbing along with the band directly into the song's unavoidable bounce. Truckin' cooks along and when Jerry hits a glorious high note at the crescendo of the song's massive build up, you can't help but giggle with contentment. Other One soon follows, and it builds out of its own quiet night shrouded ocean. Several minutes pass with the ebb and flow of the music. Here, were we only to be paying passing attention, the music could be said to be meandering aimlessly. Upon closer inspection however, one can discern reflections from the future of the music rippling backwards over us causing time to ripple and swirl. The anticipation of Phil's thundering bass roll, and the upcoming torrent of power soon to scorch the landscape around us is palpable. Once it hits, all bets are off and we cascade downhill in rivers of molten rock and crystal.

Out of Other One we arrive at Morning Dew, a song hard pressed not to elevate any second set to a higher level. And while this recording is so thoroughly fine that literally any moment can display the breathtaking clarity of sitting in the sweet spot, when we reach the beginning of the slowly building end portion of this song, this recording begins to pull our senses completely out of the physical sphere. As Jerry lightly plays a tinkling rainbow of melodies the recording surpasses all description. We are the music as it crashes into the sky and flutters back to earth like the streaming sparkler trails of fireworks.

Worthy of some dedicated listening, this show and its sister on the next night (which, by the way, is equally represented at the hand of our intrepid taper) provide us with a cornucopia of pleasures drawn directly from the heart of a subtly magic time in the band's performance history.

10/09/82 AUD etree source info
10/09/82 AUD Download


  1. My first show was Frost 88. It was a great place, I'm sure the band loved it. Close to home. Eucalyptus trees. Was this the first time they played there? They could'nt return in 90.

    The AUD is excellent quality. Nice work finding the great AUDs. I love to hear the original PA sound.

  2. wow. how can you even begin to call this show psychedelic? theres not a single thing psychedelic about it. the dead gave up there psychedelic sound by 1974. Touch of grey will NEVER be psychedelic nor will any show that has it in the set. and for that matter any show past 74 wont be psychedelic either. nothing is psychedelic about the dead post terrapin station. NOTHING. Anthem of the sun is psychedelic. Reckoning, In the Dark, etc dont have the slightest psychedelic sound to them. when the dead changed the tones of there instruments and made the shift from rich, full, ballsy, distorted lysergic madness (67-69) to the thin, dull, poppy mainstreamness (you can hear it in jerrys guitar as early as 73) they lost every and all trace of a psychedelic sound. listen to a St stephen from 69 and you'll think your having a flashback, now listen to a 77 st stephen...boring and absolutely not even the slightest bit psychedelic, all soley based on the tones of there insturments. Your a listening guide, get your shit together

    1. Your a fucking Idiot, SERIOUSLY stopped being psychadelic in 74, U out your damn MIND!!...

    2. Here we are, Anonymous, 17 months later, and still all I can come up with is one man gathers what another man spills.

  3. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I suppose "one man gathers what another man spills" is as apt a response as I can muster.

  4. not true about no psychedelia try 1-22-78 and a host of St Steven in 76 space jams in 79 had me going out for air or to regroup I relize it aint 67,68,69 but thats the beauty of it....if you like 69 ,then liston to 69,that was the reason for taping, the music is unique,its not suppose to stay the same.

  5. First of all. Thanks for the site. I keep it handy on my bookmarks tool bar. Second, reviewers here and on Audio Archive have written negative comments about this show. I understand their statement but believe they are somewhat lopsided or coming from a narrow point of view about the music.

    Personally, I do not rate shows according to psychedelic possibilities. In my opinion this type of rhetoric tends to devalue the band and make their music one dimensional. When we hear the crowd roar with the rebirth of Dark Star in '89, do we really believe the crowd is excited only because Dark Star is a psychedelic monster of a song? I should hope not.

    Another subject that irks me is Touch of Grey. I would be most indebted if someone would enlighten me as to why some people dislike this tune. Maybe I came into the scene late and don't understand what is wrong with the song. I have heard others talk about Truckin' in a similar way. Yet, I never hear a crowd boo the tune.

    Enough about that. On to the show! I enjoy this show because I can hear Bobby's rhythm guitar playing clearly. If I wanted, I could learn some of his chops from this recording. His playing is unique and a joy to listen to. Jerry's playing is very clean and articulate in this show. I find his phrasing distinct and filled with story lines. Anyway, thanks for the review and introducing this show to me.

  6. "One man gathers what another man spills": well put.

  7. Great website. IMO, Jerry's best tone was 1982. Deep, rich, loud lows and crystal clear highs. You can tell on songs like Loser. Pre-82 he would thin out when he went high for his solo. Not 82-84. His fuzz effects were also off the hook (Stranger; Let it Grow). He was also fast. This particular show, especially the Music>Deal closer, raises a particularly interesting question: who do you love more Jerry or Phil? At the end of this Deal do you take Jerry's blistering machine gun leads, or Phil's ruthless attempts to destroy the PA? I can't make up my mind! Then throw in Brent's little piano licks. Bobby ripping licks (this was pre-whammy bar I think, though I love the whammy-bar). And yeah those drummers. Of course Jerry blows the second verse of Alabama, but what about that last solo? SICK. The 82 Dew solos were also nuts. I have to listen to this one again. The next night is ridiculous too.

    Technically, 82 is my favorite year, but things start to get REAL loose in 83 (9/6/83 Help>Slip>Franklins?!) and by 84, which is my favorite year (i.e. the already reviewed 6/30/84) these people are just reckless (Greek; Ventura!!). I will say this about 84: the Spring and Summer is better than the Fall. Jerry started missing some notes; he was not as fluid. They are still good shows, but IMO are not as tight as the Spring and Summer. 85 gets a lot of props, and rightfully so, but I actually think Jerry lost just a tiny step and the band does not sound as round (if that makes sense). However, 85 is the year for some serious rock star action. I will also say that Bob Weir from 82-85 is the best front man in the business (see Good Lovin' 7/1/85 for an example).
    I will unequivocally say the Dead blow any band off the stage in 82-84 and the best shows of 85 as well.
    The 82-85 is my era for pure GD psychedelic rock and roll.

    Sorry to Ramble :)

  8. Ramble on, my friend. Ramble on. Thanks for the comments. Glad you enjoy the site.

  9. I thought it was kinda interesting that the review keeps tossing out the word "night" ... both shows this weekend happened in the afternoon and were over before dark.


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