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May 11, 1980

Cumberland County Civic Center
Portland, Maine
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The night begins with a monster first set, bursting with eleven lengthy tunes. The Alabama Getaway> Promised Land is an exquisite way to open a show, but the first real throw down jam is not until a few songs in It’s All Over Now. And the rest of the set cooks. However, the Dead turned it up a notch in the second half. A short Scarlet opens the action, making way for a ferociously brilliant Fire. And a Stranger> Terrapin> Playin’ keep things hot into Drums. A hypnotic, dark, and searching Black Peter emerges from the ether of Space. From that place of desperate beauty the band heads into GDTRFB. And before too long, Jerry launches the band into a sizzling, frenetic jam, finally mellowing down for just a moment in order to transition into Around and Around, before setting off again. The joyous release continues into Johnny B Goode, and you can practically feel the sweat and see the smiles on the boys and the audience. The Brokedown encore is a stark contrast to the rocking, insatiable end to the set. But it sends the Heads in attendance home with everything they could want and more.

In the midst of the spring East Coast tour, the Dead played a series of smaller venues, including Barton Hall on May 7th. Here in Portland, they played the Cumberland County Civic Center, which, with a total capacity of 9500, was just three years old at the time.

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