Road Trips Vol. 4, No. 4

Recorded at the Spectrum (4/6/82)

Released: 2011

Tracks

Cold Rain and Snow > [6:05]

Promised Land [5:22]

Candyman [6:28]

C.C. Rider [8:49]

Brown-Eyed Women [5:36]

Mama Tried > [2:24]

Mexicali Blues [4:50]

Big Railroad Blues [4:01]

Looks Like Rain [8:50]

Jack-A-Roe [4:55]

It's All Over Now [6:59]

Might As Well [4:24]


Shakedown Street > [13:16]

Lost Sailor > [6:20]

Saint of Circumstance > [6:32]

Terrapin Station > [11:58]

Rhythm Devils > [12:07]

Space [8:49]

Deep Elem Blues [6:02]

Althea [8:26]

Man Smart, Woman Smarter [5:51]

Truckin' > [6:42]

The Other One > [2:11]

Morning Dew > [12:09]

Sugar Magnolia [8:52]

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue [7:30]

Bertha [6:44]

Playing In the Band > [12:24]

Ship of Fools > [7:46]

Playing In the Band [10:06]

rt44.jpg

Liner Notes:

Don’t Tell Me This Town Ain’t Got No Heart!

Philadelphia’s Spectrum was the first large arena the Grateful Dead played regularly. Their first time there, December 6, 1968, they were just one of several bands playing the second Quaker City Rock Festival in the year-old facility (the first, in October ’68, featured Big Brother & The Holding Company and Moby Grape, among others). Steppenwolf and Iron Butterfly were the marquee names at the December show. The Dead probably laid down a 45-minute opener’s set to what, no doubt, was a largely mystified crowd that didn’t know them--their only previous Philly appearance had been two nights at the Electric Factory club in April of that year, and Anthem Of The Sun wasn’t exactly burning up the charts or radio airwaves that fall.

On September 21, 1972, however, the still-ascendant Dead began their tradition of headlining the 18,000-seat hockey and basketball arena (home to the Flyers and 76ers), and they would go on to play the Spectrum 53 times (most of any venue outside the Bay area), in later years reliably taking over for three and four nights in a row. That ’72 show became the magnificent final installment in the much-loved Dick’s Picks series (Vol. 36; if you don’t own it, you should!). And chunks of the 11/5-6/79 Spectrum shows were released as part of Road Trips Vol. 1, No. 1. Philadelphia has some of the most rabid and vocal music (and sports) fans anywhere, so perhaps there is some truth to the widely disseminated notion that the Grateful Dead were afraid to play a bad show there, so they didn’t!

In the long view of Grateful Dead history, the first half of 1982 doesn’t usually get the props it deserves. It had been two years since the band’s last studio album, Go To Heaven, was released--indeed, 1981 was the first year in the Dead’s history with no new originals from either Garcia or Weir. The band did have some fairly recent “product” in the stores that spring of ’82: two double albums culled from the group’s 15th anniversary Warfield (S.F.) and Radio City Music Hall shows in the fall of ’80--the acoustic masterpiece Reckoning and the electric Dead Set--had come out in April and August ’81, respectively. And Garcia did have a pair of new songs he’d penned for his solo band, “Run For The Roses” and “Valerie.” Later in ’82, four new Dead songs would come into the repertoire: “Keep Your Day Job,” “West L.A. Fadeaway,” “Throwing Stones,” and “Touch of Grey,” though (we didn’t know at the time) a new album was still five years away. But the common perception of much of ’82 is that there was nothing particularly new or interesting going on.

I respectfully disagree with that assessment. The two shows I personally saw in March of ’82 in Reno (3/13) and UC Davis (3/14) were both filled with inventive and energetic playing, and I can mention a half-dozen concerns between those and the excellent May shows at the Greek Theatre Berkeley (which I also attended) that are noteworthy, including Rochester 4/9, Glens Falls 4/14, Hartford 4/18 (with Phil’s famous “Earthquake Space”), Baltimore 4/19 (“Raven’ Space!”), and--drumroll, please--the two Spectrum shows represented herein, from 4/5 and 4/6.

The heart of this release is the complete April 6 show, long prized by Dead Heads, and fourth in The Golden Road magazine’s reader’s poll of best shows from that year, after the two October ’82 Frost Amphitheatre shows and the aforementioned Baltimore concert (which is not as good as 4/6, in my humble opinion). This is one of those shows where the band is “on” from the first notes of the opening “Cold Rain and Snow,” and basically never lets up ‘til the last notes of the lovely “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” encore. How can you tell? Well, in the first set it’s the little things: Garcia’s enthusiasm for, and attention to, lyric phrasing--the way he emphasized certain words, like a true singing storyteller should (listen to “Candyman,” “Brown-Eyed Women,” and “Jack-A-Roe,” all of which are just about perfect). And Weir is right there with him, bringing tremendous enthusiasm and personality to every song he tackles from “Mexicali Blues” to the underrated-but-almost-great “It’s All Over Now” to an airy but intense “Looks Like Rain.” Even with the presence of a couple of ballads, the feel of the first set it basically rockin’ all the way, with a high-octane “Might As Well” as an appropriate closer.

There’s no letup in the second set either. It opens with one of the best versions of “Shakedown Street” from this era--it’s big (13 minutes!), bold, and funky, with a long jam that starts with a spirited musical conversation between Brent and Jerry, before Garcia takes off on his own and leaves his keyboard buddy in the dust! “Lost Sailor”>”Saint Of Circumstance” doesn’t turn up in ’82 with nearly the frequency it did in ’80 and ’81, when both were new, but the versions feel richer somehow and this is flat-out great, up there with the 10/10/82 Frost one. From there, it’s on to a practically flawless “Terrapin” and then right into one of those titanic drum duels that sound like Mickey and Billy are deciding the fate of the universe between them. The guitarists and Brent come out for “Space” while the drummers are still onstage, banging away, and the cacophony they all make together leads into an ominous, dissonant, but strangely pretty jam, once Mickey and Billy depart.

Now, if you attended shows in the early ’80, you might have noticed a few times when Bobby came out for “Space” with a whistle around his neck. This came to mean one thing for the observant: “Truckin’,” for there was a period when Bob would signal the song with ear-splitting, matching-band-cadence tweets on his whistle before the opening riff. (I was there the night Phil finally ripped the whistle from Bob’s neck in the act of mock disgust/mercy for the audience, nearly strangling Bob in the process; maybe a BCT in ’84?). Grating whistle aside, it’s a confident and charged “Truckin’,” and the jam after it leads quickly into a short Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride “The Other One,” which, in a nice twist, features just the second verse before the band magically drops right into an enormous, heartfelt “Morning Dew,” which finds Garcia totally in command both vocally and instrumentally. (Phil drops his share of bombs in there too!) No matter how many versions of this song you’ve heard, there’s always another great one out there waiting to be found, and this is one of the best from this period. After that, the rollicking “Sugar Magnolia” is the icing on this remarkable tasty cake, and the “Baby Blue” encore a bittersweet finisher--another good choice in a show full of them.

Calling the tracks from the 4/5 Spectrum show that appear as extras on Discs Two and Three “filler” does them a disservice because, again, the playing is superb, the chemistry onstage undeniable. “Deep Elem Blues” had been played by the electric Dead just a handful of times since its acoustic revival in 1980, and you might be amazed to hear how vibrant “Man Smart, Woman Smarter” was just a year after its introduction--this version has an infectious New Orleans/Caribbean thing goin’ as an undercurrent. And Disc Three ends with a substantial chunk of 4/5’s second set, which has “Bertha” and “Ship Of Fools” couching what feels like one very long and mystery-filled extrapolation on “Playing In The Band.”

The demanding Philly crowd must have liked what it heard these two nights in April 1982, because almost exactly a year later the Dead were welcomed back to the Spectrum for two more sold-out shows...and then 34 after that through 1995. And somehow it seems appropriate that in May 2009--just a few months before the Spectrum closed in October of that year (it was demolished in the fall of 2010)--the Dead (with Warren Haynes) played two sold-out shows there. Their final song? “Samson & Delilah,” which had everyone in the place singing at the top of their lungs: “If I had my way, I would tear this old building down.”

--Blair Jackson

 

Credits:

Grateful Dead

JERRY GARCIA: Lead Guitar, Vocals
MICKEY HART: Drums
BILL KREUTZMANN: Drums
PHIL LESH: Electric Bass
BRENT MYDLAND: Keyboards, Vocals
BOB WEIR: Rhythm Guitar, Vocals

Produced for Release by DAVID LEMIEUX & BLAIR JACKSON
CD Mastering by DAVID GLASSER at AIRSHOW MASTERING, Boulder, CO
Recorded by DAN HEALY
Cover Art: SCOTT McDOUGALL
Package Design: STEVE VANCE

 

 



Add this Album to your Collection

 

 

 

This album was released in August 2011.



GD Songfinder | GD Reference Site | GD Album Reference