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