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Dead of the Day: January 12, 1979

The Spectrum
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

There are some sweet tunes in the first set - the Peggy-O really stands out for us - but the true fireworks are all in the second set. And, while the Samson and Must Have Been The Roses are more than worth the listen, it all lifts off with the epic Dancin’ In the Streets. The boys gets a funky, disco-fied groove going to start the tune off with Bobby and Donna taking the lead on a punchy vocal performance. But Jerry cannot be restrained, and he quickly nudges in with some incredible elastic guitar playing. Of course, Phil is not to be stopped either, and he begins carpetbombing the tune. And within just a moment, the entire band is off and running on a sensational jam. Eventually, after some ridiculous playing, the rest of the guys leave the stage, leaving only Jerry and the drummers - or maybe only Billy - for another lengthy session of fast work, turning the dancing into late-night, dark-alley street racing. Once Jerry finally gives up the stage, the drummers roll through a steamy section all their own, which busts right into a Not Fade Away like you have never heard before. There is a down home, country-blues sound harkening to the tunes’ Buddy Holly roots, but also taking it many times further into a labyrinth-like, dank place that is pure Grateful Dead. Make no mistake, folks, this one is a smoker, leading into a Going Down The Road Feeling Bad that is a ripping fine treat in its own right with some train-whistle guitar licks. At the end, an Allman’s sounding desultory little run segues GDTRFB into Sugar Mags to see the set out. This is the only show from this day in Dead history, but it is no slouch.

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