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Dead of the Day: June 21, 1980

West High Auditorium
Anchorage, Alaska
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There are so many excellent shows on this day in Dead history, but we head out to the summer solstice in Anchorage, Alaska for a crazy night of music in one of the high school gyms in town. The show starts off with a heady Sugaree that gets mighty tasty as the boys repeatedly jam out the tune. The audience responds with raucous cheering as they realize what is going to be coming their way over the course of the evening. The Minglewood that follows rips as well, giving way to a slow, but nicely jammed Candyman. A bit later, the Lazy Lightnin’> Supplication is truly face-stealing, followed up, after some tuning, with a nice Brent contribution on Far From Me. The second set opens with a fabulous Big Railroad Blues and a fiery Samson. But the Terrapin begins the real high point of the show. It is just a beautiful piece of music, well-played throughout with some bombs from Phil and the drummers punctuating Jerry’s luscious guitar. What’s more, the Terrapin segues into a searching Playin’ in the Band, which has Brent providing some haunting organ and Jerry blistering off as only he is capable of. The Playin’ heads into Drums and Space, which the Dead come out of with an epic Truckin’. After the frenetic energy of Truckin’, the Stella Blue makes the perfect follow-up, quiet, dark, and perfect in its own right with Jerry hitting some lovely notes along with offering up a great vocal performance. The band then sees out the set with a rocking crowd pleaser in Sugar Mags before coming back with a double encore. After all that, the 2000-person crowd departed the gymnasium into full sunshine in the midst of the endless day in the middle of the Alaska summer.

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