On this day back in 1980, the Dead headlined a Cambodian refugee benefit that Joan Baez put together. In addition to Baez, the band shared the bill with Jefferson Starship, the Beach Boys, and Carlos Santana. The show starts with a good, but still tentative Jack Straw as the boys settle into the set. Then, with the first notes of Franklin’s Tower, you know things are on. The version is a bit subdued until the rousing, intense ending, but it is exceptionally well-played throughout, settling into some humming little grooves and featuring beautiful work on the guitar. After the Franklin’s, the boys pull out a fiery Minglewood. The Tennessee Jed that follows has some sweet blasts by Phil and just generally solid playing. Following that, the LL Rain, Don’t Ease Me In, and Playin’ are all sweet as the band is dialed in and really putting on a performance. But the highlight of the night is the post-Drums action. Not Fade Away gets it started and is sensational the whole way through. Santana and John Cippolina throw down right alongside Jerry, Phil lays in some sweet bass lines, and the drummers hammer away. It is one of those outstanding moments when the guests mesh perfectly with the boys and create something that is far more than the sum of its parts. The NFA segues into a focused and fun Sugar Mags. US Blues serves as the encore and Greg Errico joins in on the action. Later, in the midst of an ensemble Land Of A Thousand Dances, Joan Baez introduces Jerry, who goes off on a sweet, mellow little run.
Other January 13th Shows and Recordings:
- 1966 - The Matrix - San Francisco, CA - unknown setlist, not on Archive
- 1967 - Fillmore Auditorium - San Francisco, CA - unknown setlist, not on Archive
- 1967 - Berkeley Community Theater - Berkeley, CA - unknown setlist, not on Archive
- 1978 - Arlington Theater - Santa Barbara, CA