Our Dead of the Day takes us back to the Uptown Theater in Chicago in 1978. Jack Straw opens the show, sharp and racing right from the start. The band then goes into a Dire Wolf that is as good as any, followed by a Mexicali that has some rip in the latter half. But the show really gets going a few tunes later with the delightful Peggy-O with Jerry shooting off at every chance he gets. After a fine Cassidy, Jerry comes right back with an intense Row Jimmy. Jerry’s vocals and guitar dominate, but Phil throws in some bombs, Keith plays some lovely fills, and the drummers keep some great time, making it something really special. The Dead follow that up with a resonate, rocking Passenger; Bobby and Donna sound great together as they did so often in ’78. Then they hit a Brown Eyed Women before heading out of the set with a slightly discoed up and absolutely fantastic Music Never Stopped, which contains some unreal guitar by Jerry. The second set starts off in high fashion with an always welcome Scarlet> Fire. Following that, Bobby announces, “here’s a death and destruction song for all you fans of death and destruction” to roars from the crowd as the band launches into El Paso. The rest of the pre-Space is quite good, including an Estimated that heads off into some serious interstellar wondrousness. But the highlight of the show may very well be the Comes a Time that emerges out of Space. Jerry is incredibly heartfelt and expressive, and what it lacks in technical perfection, it completely makes up for with raw emotion. And after that, the only thing the band could do was go to a throw-down Sugar Mags to see the set off.
This was the first of a three-night run at the Uptown. After the next night’s show at the Uptown, Billy got in a fight with Keith, probably over the latter’s playing, or lack thereof. It was serious enough that Billy flew back to California the next day. Suddenly, the Dead had to cut the three shows back to only two.
Other May 16th Shows and Recordings:
- 1967 - Continental Ballroom - Santa Clara, CA - unknown setlist, not on Archive
- 1969 - Campolindo High School - Moraga, CA
- 1970 - Temple University - Philadelphia, PA
- 1972 - Theatre Hall - Luxembourg, Luxembourg
- 1980 - Nassau Coliseum - Uniondale, NY
- 1981 - Barton Hall, Cornell University - Ithaca, NY
- 1993 - Sam Boyd Silver Bowl, UNLV - Las Vegas, NV