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Dead of the Day: January 7, 1978

Golden Hall
San Diego, California
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The band opened the year the previous night at the Swing Auditorium, and Jerry had laryngitis, which just got worse as the evening went on, resulting in him finally giving up on the vocals for the second set. His illness continued to progress, but he did not let that stop the band as they stormed into the Golden Hall in San Diego for a night of incendiary Jerry guitar work while Bobby and Donna took care of the vocals and the entire band combined on a ferocious show. Every song in the first set is shockingly awesome and dripping with unadulterated adrenal power and energy. The Cassidy is beautiful, the Passenger is lights-out brilliant, and the Me And My Uncle is smoking top shelf. But as good as these tunes are, the Looks Like Rain is a superlative rendition that will have you smiling a beatific grin from ear to ear. Jerry destroys every possible point where he can make a run, and Bobby is not far behind, devastating the tune. However, the real highlight of the set is still to come in the Let It Grow. Jerry is again blistering, but it is Phil’s strategic bombing runs, the relentless inimitable drumming, Keith’s heady as all get out fills, and Bobby’s supremely confident and, dare we say it, brilliant guitar work and unrestrained vocal performance that puts this way, way over the top. Afterwards, the Promised Land set-closer comes out as a refreshing, drenching release of spastic energy after the masterpiece that came before.

The second set picks up right where the first left off with a splendid Jack Straw. Once again, Jerry channels everything he has into his guitar, while the rest of the band is clearly also playing with an added sense of purpose. You can listen to dozens of Jack Straws and not hear the boys make runs in some of the spaces they do here, but it is the overall power of the tune that really awes. The Dancin’ In The Streets that occurs next is a monumental disco version of the tune, coming it at a stunning 23+ minutes. Phil is unstoppable throughout, and Jerry contributes epically; just give it a listen as words do not do it justice. The Samson and Playin’ are both excellent as well, though it is the Not Fade Away that provides the other fireworks in the set. Mickey and Billy's drumming is overwhelming in all the best ways, and the band achieve full mind-meld form while they blast out of space on the rocking jalopy that is NFA. While this tune is always a treat, here it achieves something truly extraordinary, as the boys display their fully certified rock star credentials while also creating some sort of crazy syncopated mashup of American music in a raging, no holds barred package with a phenomenally bizarre, driving spacey section. This version is truly out of this world.

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