You are here

Dead of the Day: May 6, 1981

Nassau Coliseum
Uniondale, New York
Click stars to rate

It is clear from the beginning of the night that the Dead were there to rock, starting with the Alabama Getaway out of the gate. Throughout the first set, the band seems to pack a little more energy and intense jamming into each tune than they might on a different night. For instance, the end of Cassidy goes off in blistering fashion with everyone combining on a fiery series of turns. Then the Jack-A-Roe comes right back with Bobby and the drummers busting along and Jerry laying in some fiery picking. And it just keeps going along like this until the Let It Grow, which is bristling with a new, even more heightened, frenetic energy, as the boys are constantly itching to go further into the interstices of the song and occasionally explode with fervor. The second set starts out with a killer Minglewood that, like the Let It Grow in the first half, pushes the song to its edge with Bobby and Jerry trading licks at one point. The Sailor> Saint is also electric, but the set takes another turn upwards and onwards with the He’s Gone. With some incredible guitar work, the song heralds the preposterously phenomenal Caution jam – the last Caution the band ever played – which then morphs into an equally ridiculous Spanish Jam. After Drums and Space, the first notes of The Other One echo forth, bringing cheers that the band answers with a seething rendition. With the GDTRFB, it seems the band is heading for the door, though in rocking fashion, but instead of a Not Fade Away, the boys slow it down for a resonant, melancholy Wharf Rat, which elicits a roar from the audience who is clearly loving the night. Then a Good Lovin’ closes out the set, and a Don’t Ease Me In encore completely ends it.

A crisp soundboard of this show was released as Dick's Picks 13. And there are sections on this audience recording that are a little rough where the Dick's Picks is very welcome, especially in the first two songs or so. But after that point, the crew gets the board figured out, and our recording improves. Before long, the tape is barely noticeable, allowing us to enjoy the music while also hearing the audience, which is stoked and boisterous throughout the show. Of course, the official release has a more clean and nuanced, if a bit more sterile, sound.

Search for shows