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Friday, August 8, 2008

1984 June 30 - Indianapolis Sports Center

Jerry Garcia 1984

Saturday, June 30, 1984
Indianapolis Sports Center - Indianapolis, IN
Audience Recording

Here’s another example of how there are so many gems lurking in the early 80’s. 1984 is full of great runs and stellar moments. Here, at a small outdoor venue (tennis court), on a hot summer day, smack dab in the middle of Indiana, the Grateful Dead delivered some fine moments indeed. There are so many inroads to great music in 1984. After being away from trading for a number of years, 06/30/84 was one of the first dates that my memory recommended to me as being aextra special from this year. Without a doubt there are a great many more shows from this year that are worthy of being featured here, and I plan to get to them in time. For now, this show feels right. Well recorded, the tape imparts just the right specialness that epitomized 1984.

Indianapolis Sports CenterThe first set rolls along nicely, and features some very pronounced Bobby rhythm work in Saint of Circumstance. He is way up in the mix during the crescendo, and it gives you the ability to dial into his playing as much as he obviously has. But this doesn’t even prepare you for the monstrous Deal that closes the set. As the 80’s progressed, so did Jerry’s exploration in his Deal solos. They tended to contain ever-appearing peaks, like huge ocean waves of energy, pushing the song on and on. Just as one fades, another takes its place. He would punctuate these peaks in such a way that would blow your hair back. 06/30/84 delivers a Deal that scores on all of these points. And the energy carries directly into the next set.

Shakedown Street brings its wonderful high stepping funky prance, opening up the second set on a high note. The band seems to take their time with the entire song, letting things build slowly. By the time they finish up the final “Just gotta poke around” vocal improv, the entire venue is deep in the pocket. It’s a joyful delivery of very Grateful Dead-like music. Slowly, the jam pushes its borders, adding an element of quiet surprise here and there that hints at more spacey leanings. The band is stoking the fire. Our heads swell with a mystic heat. Finally, after traveling in wonderful directions, Shakedown dissipates into the mist of transition with Jerry eventually clearly indicating that Playin’ comes next. The crowd gets it amidst a waterfall of musical dewdrops. Held within a sliver of space between songs, they tickle the nerves, as the music takes its own breath between songs.

Grateful Dead logoPlayin’ rockets forward, always at a faster tempo in the 80’s. In no time the jam is upon us and the music blooms into its characteristic Playin’ flower – petals composed of starlight dappled wagon wheels ever opening, ever reaching. Without effort, the music expands your senses beyond the Self and into a deeply internal journey all at once. The jam goes in twisted directions, changing the landscape over and over. Storm clouds fill the sky and are replaced just as quickly with northern lights, and fire. Energy grows and erupts in snakelike tree trunks, appearing and receding before you. The band pushes the moment over the edge beautifully. With the theme of Playin’ In The Band nearly completely forgotten, the music ebbs back into that dewdrop waterfall filled sliver between songs again. It lingers a bit longer this time, enjoying the near still pools that cover the ground around you. On a whisper, the waters condense into Terrapin Station, and the music moves itself on to the next song.

Sure, Jerry’s going to forget a line here and there ( I think he did in Shakedown too), but the song can’t be altered from its hypnotic course. The early solo section of this version is sublime. That beauty held within the crevices of the last two song transitions steps forth and saturates the music completely. Gravity fades and the world is filled with gently floating precious jewels and flowers. The quiet between notes provides as much substance as the music itself, and nothing is missed from our field of experience. Followed thereafter with the dynamic rise and fall of the song’s end section, this Terrapin ranks up as one of the nicest of the year.

Drums and Space are nice, and the rest of the set satisfies, but the above mentioned passages are where the light really shines. Enjoy.

06/30/84 AUD etree source info
06/30/84 AUD Download


  1. Very very weird... I was just streaming this show yesterday after reading up on it in the Compendium, and today I stumble across this *incredible* site, and here it is in the first post. Coming from an avowed late 70s/early 80s hater, let me just say that this show absolutely kills it. Jerry is in absolutely top pre-coma form here. My main interest is in 68-77, but shows like this make me want to dig deeper into the 80s. Excellent stuff

  2. Thanks for the compliment. I've been down the exact same road regarding the early 80's. You should enjoy stepping further into that decade with anything listed on the blog here. Enjoy!

  3. Thanks for this wonderful blog! As someone who deeply appreciates 1972 and Bird Song, have you had a chance to listen to the 8/25/72 recent posting?

    Maybe it's just me, but this seems to be a perfect perfect Bird Song, where the band morphs through intensity and quiet passages.

    Curious if you've checked this one out... Here is the link:

  4. I have not checked out that Bird Song. Will do. Thanks for the tip.

  5. "Thanks for the compliment. I've been down the exact same road regarding the early 80's. You should enjoy stepping further into that decade with anything listed on the blog here. Enjoy!"

    Well, let me clarify... I have a great fondness for the era where I saw all of my 74 shows, 86-91, but the eras surrounding that, early 80s and 90s, have always been the deep black hole for me in Dead history. Set lists were too samey, Jerry was a doped-up wreck, too much Bobby and Brent cheese etc etc. I'm really looking forward to going into the shows you recommend here. I still don't see how ANYONE could prefer the hottest 82 show over anything from, say, 72 (the perfect year, imho), but to each his own. I await your choices with eager ears...

  6. I agree with most of everything said. Having missed the years prior, I made up for it by going to a mess of shows starting in 1980. I hear people turn up their nose at the shows of the 80s, but like it or not, there were some joyous moments had by all. This show was one of those; we had a good old time. The chairs were piled up to make room for dancing, the stage took up half of the tennis court and by the time Terripin rolled around we were slam dancing. Jerry didn't forget that line, though he did that plenty. He was laughing, shaking his head at us as we collided. Thanks for the discussion.

  7. Man but isn't that the most wretched photo of Jerry at the top of this entry that I've ever seen? Poor phreakin' guy - such a genius, driven to just anihilate himself. The pic put me in a real downer of a state, but having just listened to the show I'm coming to terms...again...with Jerry's self-anihilation and the music he and the band continued to give birth to, for the most part, until the bitter end. He will always represent everything good and pure of the 60's and 70's for me - isn't that what a touchstone, a mentor, a bhodisattva is supposed to do - carry us through to the other side to the detriment of him or her self? (Right on through to the other side...) I believe Jerry fulfilled that role to the 'nth degree. Still...what a shabby, sad, sad pic...still wincing out a tear at this late date for him. (I for one was in San Diego for the last show...not Chicago)

  8. I went to this show (and most of the other summer tour shows that year) and it is _the_ one that stands out for me. My friends and I were on the "floor" such as it was and were right about where the net would have been, if it were setup for tennis.

    The show was great, and listening to my master tapes brings back a lot of memories, but I don't see anyone mention that there was a helicopter (from a local TV station?) that practically buzzed the crowd late during the second set. The band was jamming along, started to mellow out and quiet down a bit and the helicopter showed up and everyone started going nuts. I think the band picked up on all of that and so they started getting louder and louder... After a minute the helicopter left, and were in disbelief that he came in so close - sounds like a mass hallucination (btdt), I know, but it's on my tape (turned out great - Sennheiser 441s in to a D5 from the center of the net!!).

    Listen for yourself, no dissapointments. See if you can hear the crowd insanity & helicopter. A true gem of a show, one of the best of the 85 total shows I had the privilege to witness.

  9. Yes the helicopter. Also, if I'm not mistaken, after the encore everyone on the floor was trapped as the exits were blocked and we were photographed. I'm pretty sure that was the show. As I remember there was at least two guys with cameras, long lenses clicking away. I recall a friend, Paul or Ethan or Ignatz or someone getting all paranoid that it was the fuzz. It would be fun to find the video from the helicopter.

    I agree this was a highlight from that tour. Merryweather in the rain, too.

  10. Noah,

    There is video from this concert now online.

    Really makes me wonder what the band members were thinking when they saw Jerry everyday in that kind of condition.


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